Things I Did After Each of 32 Rejections

March 20, 2018 § 31 Comments


By Lea Page

  1. Marked the rejection on my list and reassured myself that it was only one
  2. Thought: two isn’t bad. Imagined the soaring joy of acceptance that would come with the next notification.
  3. Reread essay and decided I still liked it.
  4. Repeated to self: “Rejection is just another step on the way to success.”
  5. Read too much into the “In Progress” notification on Submittable.
  6. Ate chocolate.
  7. Reread the essay. Found words, phrases and whole sentences that could be cut. Clawed in anguish at the proverbial bosom. Cut the damn words.
  8. Sent the essay to another batch of journals. Checked Submittable in a non-obsessive way.
  9. Was able to quote from memory all of the variations: “We’re sorry, read with interest but, not for us, not the right fit, pass this time, good luck.”
  10. Ate more chocolate.
  11. Made another list of journals and sent the essay to a dozen of them. Nothing grim about it. Nothing at all.
  12. Castigated myself for ever imagining the soaring joy of acceptance.
  13. Watched Netflix during designated writing time.
  14. Reread the essay and decided it was awful. Got a friend to read it. Didn’t know if they were just being nice by saying they loved it.
  15. Sent out another batch.
  16. Considered whether “Received” or “In Progress” held more possibility. Decided both were inscrutable and, possibly, sinister.
  17. Went to Costco to stock up on chocolate.
  18. Marked off the rejection on my list and wondered if it would have been better if I had chosen another color besides red for my color-coding system.
  19. Determined that two Costco-sized bags of chocolate-covered blueberries were, in fact, inadequate for my needs.
  20. Resorted to sports analogies: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
  21. Made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t check Submittable any more.
  22. Checked Submittable.
  23. Reread the essay, decided it really wasn’t so bad.
  24. Got a pair of trusted eyes on the essay. Sank into the depths of frustration and despair when told, “It needs something.”
  25. Repeated to myself my first writing teacher’s encouraging words: “We’ll throw a party for the first person to get 50 rejections!” Half-way there!
  26. Realized that my only success might be in failure.
  27. Sent the essay out again because I was like those zombies I watched but shouldn’t have. Nothing could stop me but a blow to the head.
  28. Read articles claiming that sugar is the cause of all ills. Read articles stating that chocolate has 4 grams of protein per half cup.
  29. Decided that I couldn’t please everyone else and maybe couldn’t please anyone else but myself. Pretended that this made me powerful instead of lonely.
  30. Gave myself a stern lecture about doing the work for the work’s sake. Very nearly believed it.
  31. Decided that the essay did need something. It needed me to not give up on it.
  32. Checked Submittable.
  33. What?

_________________________________

A knitter, gardener and avid dog-snuggler, Lea Page lives in Montana with her husband. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Rumpus, The Pinch and Hippocampus, and she is the author of Parenting in the Here and Now: Realizing the Strengths You Already Have (Floris Books, 2015). Find her at www.LeaPageAuthor.com.

 

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