My writing goal for 2019 was to get one hundred rejections. Because what writer wouldn’t want to get rejected that many time, amirite? A few writers recommended this to me as a means of putting my work out there. To get that many rejections,  you have to submit a lot of stories, and along the way, some of them are going to find homes. The goal also gets you studying markets more closely and watching for more opportunities. No market is too small or too strange.

I pulled in 106 rejections with 10 acceptances over 122 submissions. In the unseen shadows of those numbers, I had four stories held for consideration at a handful of my dream markets. This was a major boost for me, even if they ultimately wound up in the rejection pile. In the end, 2019 was my best year, acceptance-wise, yet so I’ve decided to make this an annual goal.

Now, I do recommend trying this if you’re making a move to take yourself seriously as a short fiction (or novel writer, for that matter), but… you should be prepared. There are approximately 365 days in a year, so you can reasonable expect to receive a rejection every 3.65 days. That’s a lot rejections, but hey, that’s doable, right?

WRONG.

Because it doesn’t go like this at all. All those editors and slush readers get together, probably with some sort of booze or I don’t know, psychedelics made from writer’s tears, and pick a single day to just reject the heck out of you. And you can bet they’re giggling while they do it. There are long stretches of nothing, which always get your hopes up because a late response could mean that they’re thinking about your story. At this point you’re probably clicking stats on The Grinder every hour, deep in the pit of rejectomancy. Then…

BOOM.

grayscale photo of explosion on the beach
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You get four rejections in a single day.

I have no advice for those days. I wish I did. Practise self-care, yes, whatever that means to you. Two rejections? Pfft. No big deal, I am a writer, dang it. Rejections are my life. Three rejections? Hey now, that stings a little. FOUR? Oh sweet baby Yoda, nothing has hurt like this since Whatstheirface dumped me in grade 11.

adult alone anxious black and white
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Big, deep breath.

I’m sure there’s a callus that grows over your soul at some point and in the year 2030 it will take forty rejections per day to turn me into such a sniffling mess (the climate apocalypse plans on making me jaded AF). There was a point when one rejection felt as discouraging as four did in 2019-which brings me to another thing that this whole one hundred rejection goal did for me-it made me more resistant to rejection. Four? Before 2019 I’d never received more than one a week, max, and if we want to be writers, we do need to get used to rejection. Gosh, we’re in a masochistic profession.

I’m still not where I’d like to be in terms of faith in my own writing, but I am learning to need that faith less, and to trust my voice more. Which is probably what I needed to learn more than anything, TBH.

What about you? Did you make any goals for last year this year? Want to hash them out?

10 thoughts on “one hundred rejections

  1. As a voice actor, I’ve been in the rejection business for about ten years already. That wasn’t painful enough, so now I’m an indie publisher too! Last year my goal was to write a book, and this year my goal is to share that new book (one chapter per week + audio) on my blog. So far so good… and good luck to us all this year!

    Like

  2. Congratulations on all your rejections, I guess???

    But seriously, I like that as a goal. If you have a one in a hundred chance of doing something, then just try to do it one hundred times, and you should succeed once. And it sounds like your success rate was quite a bit better than that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oi. I aspired to this goal, too, but that meant submitting at something at least twice a week, and, as a poet, I have the creative metabolism of a pop star: about twelve new pieces a year.

    That being said, as I counsel my younger writer friends, to go this road, to grind away at even a “normal” rate demands the stubborn patience and thick shell of a wise old tortoise. Some of our senior poets here in Canada totally eschew this part of the job, publishing _only_ books.

    How to handle those heavy rejection days? I wish I knew. You know, Jack London wall papered his apartment with rejection slips: there’s a clue there, I think.

    _Courage_! and one more time into the breach!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Twelve new pieces a year is no small feat, either. I’m the sort of person who works well under deadline and in the short fiction world, there’s no shortage of those, so my one hundred rejection goal did make me write more in the past year than other years.

      Like

  4. I didn’t make many simultaneous submissions, only three, as there’s so many spec fic markets that don’t accept them. At the beginning of the year I had seven stories to send out, and I wrote more, via inspiration or prompts based on the call I submitted to, throughout. By the end of the year I had submitted thirty-two individual stories (some of these were flash fiction, mind). This is more than I’ve written in previous years, which was another positive side-affect of setting the hundred rejection goal.

    As for patterns, someone once mentioned they noticed a mathematical trend that one in ten submissions were accepted, which seems right BUT, like the rejections, the acceptances came in clusters with long gaps between so expecting such a pattern would have only been discouraging. It also seems to me that one in ten must depend on the markets you submit to, as some places simply accept a higher percentage of stories submitted to them than others. The only thing I can say for a real certainty is that I would never have had those ten acceptances if I didn’t also get 106 rejections.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s