Part of writing is being rejected. For me, it must be an integral one. Like most would-be scribes I've amassed a hefty share of 'no thank yous' over the years, although I am old enough to have a number of them typed on actual paper. The speed of the internet makes it easier to find markets and submit to them. At the same time, it also allows our egos to be kicked around with much more speed and efficiency.
Yesterday morning, after I'd gotten up at 5am and cranked out 749 words in 45 minutes (yep, sticking to the schedule and ignoring the exhaustion), I took 5 minutes and submitted a story to a market that was new to me. The story has been a 7 time loser - it's a little risque, and that might be a tough sell, or - OR - it just might not be that good. I like it and my first reader likes it a a lot, so I keep sending it out. Yesterday, into another slush pile it went.
This morning, when I woke up at 5am (even on Saturdays, including when I have an MS charity Muckrun in a few hours! The dedication!) I had a bright, shiny rejection notice waiting for me. Now in the old days when I used to pound on an actual typewriter with a rock the story probably would have still been in my town's post office. Instead I have almost instant confirmation of suckitude. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Good, or at least that's what I want to believe. Hopeful waiting only makes the sting of refusal that much more sharp, methinks. And this one came with positive personal comments - 'Well-written' and 'Interesting' - but the reader said the payoff wasn't enough. There was a time when feedback like that would have shot me over the moon - now it just frustrates me a little at the same time. I'm buoyed that my craft seems to be continuing to improve, as these type of comments are increasing in frequency. At the same time, boo for failure. This is a tough hobby, this writing. I understand that it's a fickle one too, and that I could write a great story that for some reason doesn't appeal to a certain first reader - but that's how it goes. The taste of writing success is so very sweet, so addictive, that it's almost impossible not to keep striving for it. And also, I just like to write. Telling stories make me happy. Having my first reader growl at me that she had things to do but lost an hour reading the first draft of my 10,000 word story gives me a warm fuzzy. Looking on the bookshelf and seeing the spine(s) for Machine of Death lets me realize I managed to achieve a lifelong dream (maybe a little more than I expected to). And yeah, my ego gets stroked. Let's not pretend that element isn't part of it.
So I suppose that being rejected quickly is part of the price tag for being able to have a vast array of publishing options at my actual fingertips. Do one-day rejections hurt, even with kind words? Sure. Am I deluded in chucking this story out there for an 8th time, denying that it might be a pile of vomit? Maybe. But we all have our addictions, and this one is a fairly easy one to scratch. besides, it's quiet and pretty at 5am.