At long last, the response from the editor/agent arrives. We click on the email (or tear open the envelope). As writers, our emotions are split—equal parts of fear and anticipation. Okay, maybe 70/30.
In a mere second, the two-part emotion morphs into 100% disappointment. We groan. Another rejection. “…Thank you for your submission…blah, blah, blah…but we don’t want your stinking stuff.”
Okay, so maybe the quote above isn’t verbatim, but if you’ve been writing for any length of time, you become adept at reading between the RTF text. They don’t want our stuff—stinking or not. So our fingers crimp the mouse, clicking on the delete button with enough force to hammer a nail into a cement block.
But wait. What was that?
No. Not possible. Yet our subconscious insists. Beneath that form text, we saw something just before the generic signature block. In script font.
Believing we’re wasting time, we nevertheless click on the trash folder. We gulp another mouthful of coffee, convinced caffeine will rectify our inability to correctly process a cookie-cutter rejection. We search through the day’s discarded mail until we find the zapped electronic communication. Again. Thinking we’re bat-dung crazy, we double-click.
Holy Mother of Adverbs! The script flashes like a neon sign. We aren’t delusional. At the end of the blah, blah, blah, there really is an addition comment. In a font of a different color we see actual feedback. “Please send me something else.” (Or “…your characters have real promise; you have an engaging voice; an interesting premise...”)
We do a little dance, make a little laugh and start to get down (to work) when we realize something amazing has occurred. We’ve transitioned. Our psyche didn’t experience a bone-crunching deflation. Instead, we enjoy the thrill of a polite “no thank-you.” Okay, maybe pathetic is a more apt description than amazing, but we’ve stopped taking rejection personally.
What is wrong with us?
I can’t imagine any other occupation where people get ecstatic over so little. For those of us who still have a day job, the nice rejection is equivalent to hearing, “No, you can’t have a raise, but we’ll use colored paper to print your pay stub.” In the White Collar world, can you imagine interviewing an applicant and then sending a letter saying:
- You’re fully qualified for the advertised position but your coffee cup didn’t wow us.
- We know you can do this job, but your pacing will wear a hole in our carpets.
- We feel you are right for the position but fear you don’t have enough conflict in your life.
- Thank you for applying but we’re not accepting people who wear blue suits at this time.
- Your qualifications are amazing but we don’t believe your car will fit in our parking spaces.
Perhaps the difference for the writer is one of magnitude. As authors, we don’t just get a job. We go from the wilderness of the unpublished into the wonderful, wonderful world of PUBBED.
Or maybe we’re just nuts.
What do you think? Are we crazy, or is there a method to the mayhem?
Copyright © 2012 by Robin Weaver