If I was an editor, I wouldn’t want to explain my decision to a writer if I rejected their work. Somehow, I get why editors generally do this. A decision may fit the editor’s criteria for rejecting a piece, but a decision can also be quite subtle and lucid rather than fully defined. There’s just this sense that a piece is not quite right. So, the editor passes on it after due consideration and an explanation should not be forthcoming from a subtle sense of uncertainty over a piece. How could you define it? So, writers should be assured that sometimes there are not explanations for rejecting a piece — the feeling just wasn’t right. Anyone should be able to ascertain this through their own decisions over selecting or rejecting things where, sometimes, the feeling is the basis for the decision and it just didn’t feel right. I know I do.
I hate cutting short a writing opportunity, one where my foot is in the door. It may need to be done on occasion, though. It is usually the employer or publisher that terminates an opportunity or a job, but sometimes the writer also does. Why, o, why, though? But if I cut short something, it is because I can see no way forward with the publisher. If I have been submitting unusable or unsuitable material, I am also quick to admit that I can change some things about my work that may be better for both of us. However, if a payback is not going to be obviously forthcoming, I would not bother. On the other hand, if a writer or employee is in the throes of a job and the publisher or employer terminates the job for good reason, the pain is on the writer’s side, and it is indeed painful. These situations are not very nice at all. But sometimes there is no way forward after a certain amount of time has come and gone and no further progress has been made. Why bother?
A couple of years ago I had an opportunity to write stories about people’s experiences and insights into living the Christian life, but the ones I approached to find out who in their church would be interested for a chat about their lives, never got back to me. Email made it easier, I suppose, to go on to something else. With email, you don’t have to reply. I understood that people might have been reluctant to share their lives with me and the public, and that finding out if there are people who have “testimonies” is always leg work for others, but it was a potential series of articles that haven’t come to be. They haven’t materialized. I was sorry about that. Considering, there are editors who might turn a page of my work with a disdainful eye (but really it’s probably a sorry they couldn’t publish it), the editors who are interested in stories about people from me, don’t get to see it. The irony is painful. In this case, I will have to find the stories myself–my own contacts and relationships and approach them directly, or build new contacts and relationships. One has said ‘no’ so far. But is the publisher still going to be around post Covid-19? There are more pressing issues at hand…
I was pleased to write reviews at this alternative website for a number of times over the years. I found I was writing with little if no after-thought to the writing, though. So, I didn’t check if it needed a polish, and neither was it edited at the other end. You live and learn. Always double check your work!
Starting over again, where do you begin?–Dolly Parton, from “Dolly, Dolly, Dolly” (1980)