This is hard already. I can’t really think of a writing experience that was bad enough to scar me for life so that I could never forget it. So I guess I’ll go with my first rejection letter. The truth is I sort of expected it. I wasn’t devastated when I got it because all writers are bound to be rejected at some point or another and I was completely aware of this. Rejection is a part of a writer’s life, end of story. Usually when being rejected, form letters are sent; sorry, thanks but no thanks, regards, so and so. Not much to go on. I, however, had sent my story to a Canadian magazine and received a paper in the mail with a whole checklist of things that were wrong with my story – their reasons for stashing it in the slush pile. They were good reasons. An editor had even written some notes at the bottom. A part of me read them and understood where he was coming from. It made perfect sense in regards to what I had sent. The guy wasn’t an editor for nothing.
So there I was, rejected and being told very clearly why my story sucked (which I now look back and think, yeah, it did), but at the same time I was quite impressed with what he had sent back. It wasn’t my last rejection letter. I was essentially told all my stories sucked (yes, they did), but I do give that Canadian magazine credit for sending back such a detailed form. I should try writing a short story that doesn’t suck (oh the agony of my short story intellect) and send it to them again.
True, that little story doesn’t exactly scream, “Oh my God! Such a horrible experience!” and in a way negates itself; starting off sounding as though it will be and then ending up with a “moral of the story.” Rejection isn’t always so bad. It never was, really. I’m pretty mild about it. But to get back on topic, I’ve always enjoyed my writing and even when being critiqued by my peers online (yes, I am with an online workshop) and in the classroom, though it can be tough to hear things that are wrong with your story or that just don’t make sense, I really do my best to keep an open mind. Much of the time I read or listen to what they have to say and think, “Aah, that makes sense…” I think I’m rambling now. I tend to do that if I don’t have a topic I can stick to like glue.