A little story she found in the throes of writing her latest manuscript. It was found in-between the pages of her first novel. The content of the note was chilling, freezing her senses. What happened then could happen again. This was the note:
The publisher tried to console me. “Acceptances and rejections come one’s way no matter how the writing is. Yours just wasn’t a fit this time. But we invite you to try again.” I considered this and thought about what they said: Yours was not a fit this time. But they must love my ideas because they invited me to submit again. So, make it fit! Try again. Now, I should write something that suits them and wait and wait and wait…anticipating, expecting. Will my work be good enough? Who knows.
She waited for six months. In the sixth month, the reply came, “Yours wasn’t a fit this time. Sorry. Please try again in the future.” She bit her lip and tried again. A few months later, as she was furiously writing, she realized, what’s the point? And tried someone else, who said, “Good luck in finding another publisher for your work.” But she kept on trying and trying. She revised and revised after each rejection and the piece kept on sounding better. But it always sounded good, she thought. Then one day she came to the realization: should I stop, now? Has this piece does its dash? One more try, she thought.
Fifty rejections later, she is published, but would the cycle of rejection happen again? She put the note away and thought, I got through that. I can get through it again. Not that I ever will.
This is the tale of a writer who made the big time.
In retrospect, certain embarrassing turns of phrase and articulations in a column I wrote were going to make my column sound off-color. But a good editor saved me from such embarrassments. Having wrote the article, I sent it off to the editor, this was back in 2002. Sometimes, I may write a sentence or paragraph that I don’t double check for how it sounds. Looking back at the version I submitted, most of the article sounded fine — apart from a couple of things that would have spoiled the entire tone of the article. Just imagine it got published exactly as submitted. Such was my thought as I looked back at my submission. But an editor looked over my submission. And the editor who is doing a great job can save an article by making a few necessary adjustments. And save the writer from embarrassing moments that would have spoiled the tone of the article and make the writer look a little embarrassed. Consistency can be important to an article, or at least a sense of it. But a few off-kilter moments can spoil the broth. But the day the editor saved me from such moments is a day I had a great editor.
A while ago I wrote about how one submits their articles, etc. One way is to submit everything you’ve got. One non-writer said to me “go crazy”. The other way is to submit your best. I had been methodically submitting to a particular publisher, but a rejection I got from them over the weekend made me focus on my approach with them. Reconsidering my approach is what I should do in this case. The answer was obvious. I came down on the side of only submitting my best after this rejection. The pieces I’ve put aside may be good for a different publisher. So, my bottom line for this publisher is to submit my best, while the others may find the light of day somewhere else as they may fit better there. Nothing is wasted, therefore. I was going to chuck the others out, but thought better of it.
I’m expecting an overwhelmingly positive reply, almost beyond a doubt, I am going to get the publication slot. But I don’t. It just seemed that way. It’s like a trick played on you, but I’ve been self-deluded. A wake-up call in many ways, but not a fully soul-destroying one. I keep on going, nevertheless, and processes the “trick” played on me. Then, I start over again, perhaps a little more guarded next time.
At the start of the week, I submitted two pieces, one article and one devotion, for consideration for publication. It felt good that the job was done and that the submission process had begun, that it was no longer in my hands as it was. Looking forward to what happens.