The Feeling of Rejection

Every year for the past three, my favorite writing group has curated a themed short story anthology. The best thing about the anthology, at least for me, is the month-long workshop that most of the entrants participate in. As just about any writer will tell you, good feedback is as good as gold (and hard to get.) I spent all of my writing time this year focusing on stories that would fit this year’s anthology theme: Ink Dreams. 

My year started off on the best foot possible; I wrote a complete short story on January 1st, and another story by the end of the month. I was so excited because I felt like both had a connection to the theme, but I ultimately chose the first story because of a stronger connection and I was just so proud of it. 

The workshop came and went, and I got some wonderful comments on my story that helped me to really improve it. I waited on pins and needles, optimistically waiting for the results of which stories the judges would be deem worthy to be included. Then came the day the official list was posted… (And I’m sure, from my title, you can imagine where this is going.)

My story was not on the list. 

My heart fell into my stomach and immediate tears sprang from my eyes. I suppose I had grown comfortable with the fact that I had been accepted to the previous two years’ anthologies. And you know the basic saying: the higher they are, the harder they fall. And I fell hard. It took me three days to stabilize my emotions and stop crying at the thought of being rejected. I began to question everything I thought I knew about myself and my skills. Because—after all—if I were any good at writing, wouldn’t I have been accepted?

Eventually, I came to terms with the fact that I will not be accepted into everything I submit to, as a writer and otherwise. It’s not my first rejection, but it did feel more personal—maybe because I interact with all of the entrants and judges on a daily basis. It’s been about a month since the rejection, and I can finally think and/or talk about it without my breath hitching in my throat. 

I can honestly say that I’m so proud of all of my writer friends that will be included in the anthology; and I empathize completely with all of those who also didn’t make it. Life is a series of joys and disappointments—and I really wouldn’t have it any other way, because the lows always make the highs that much sweeter.

Have any of you lovely readers ever faced rejection? How did you deal with it? Well, thank you for commiserating with me! 

Until next time,

4 thoughts on “The Feeling of Rejection

  1. Lexi says:

    Having read your story, I was shocked it wasn’t selected! I am certain it was because the judges felt others were a better fit but in no way is that a comment on the value of your story. I loved it and my hubby did too. I live the positive outlook you took from this and thanks for sharing with everyone!

  2. Crystal MM Burton says:

    I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with rejection. I know it’s a part of being a writer, but just because it’s expected at some point doesn’t make it any easier. I’ve been rejected twice now: once to a contest that I didn’t even get an email response back from, and once to a contest run by a friend that I really thought I had a chance at. Maybe not first place, but there were 5 winners. I was really upset for the longest time because being rejected means my friend had measured my worth in words against a bunch of other people and at least five came out above me. Now my friend knows I’m a crappy writer, right? Nah. It just wasn’t a good fit. Your story (which I’ve read, so I can say this) is a great one with a realistic ending. I thought it was amazing. That story 100% has a place in the world and I hope you find it. Because I know a lot of people would really enjoy it. Here’s hoping the next submission (wherever that’s to) goes better! 🙂

    • Michelle says:

      Thank you so much for all the support you’re always giving! I seriously would have thrown in the towel by now if it weren’t for your shoulder that I’m always crying on 🙂

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