Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Year's Resolution: Go Forth and Get Rejected

Every "no" means you're one step closer to a "yes." 
~ Ali Eickholt

By: J.T. Evans 

How many rejection letters did you get in 2015? Ten? Thirty? Sixty? Three-hundred?

If you have more than zero, you’re doing something right! I personally racked up more than sixty rejections for two different novels during the course of 2015. That’s not counting the slew of emails I received declining short stories I’d submitted to various markets.

While I wish something had landed for me in the past year, I do my best to not let it get me down. I have to be honest that there have been some rough patches for me in 2015 when I just knew I’d found the perfect market for the perfect story… and it didn’t work out the way I’d hoped and planned.

With the support of my family, friends, my critique group, and Pikes Peak Writers, I’ve managed to remind myself that good things are coming. I don’t know when or how, but they’re coming. I’m not going to miss my opportunity.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
~ Wayne Gretzky

Like The Great One says, if I stop shooting, I am guaranteed to miss. I can’t let that happen to my writing or me. The shots I’m taking today are better than the ones I took last month and those are better than the ones I took last year.

Every sentence I write is better than the previous one that fell from my fingertips and hit the keyboard. With each effort I put into building my “writing muscles,” I get stronger, faster, and more agile. I know I can do this.

You can do this as well.

Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. 
You must set yourself on fire.
~ Fred Shero

Obviously, I don’t want you to self-immolate (or immolate in any manner), but if you sit around and do nothing with your writing, you’re waiting for spontaneous combustion. I’m challenging myself in 2016 to set myself on fire (again, not literally), and get more work out in the world. I sent close to one hundred submissions (some queries for novels, some for short stories) in 2015.

In 2016, I’m challenging myself to break that record and submit more than one hundred items out into the world for consideration.

New Year’s Resolution:  Go Forth
 and Get Rejected ~ J.T. Evans

Who out there is willing to step up to my side and light that fire in themselves? Who is going to break their personal best for racking up the rejections?

If you aim at nothing, there’s a very good chance 
you’ll hit it.
~ James Scott Bell

Even though I’ll be blasting out the submissions in 2016, I will not be doing so blindly. My plan is to ensure each market (or agent) is open to submissions in the area of the story, and send highly targeted submissions. In military terms, I’m looking for my “high value targets,” and I intend to hit a few of them. (Again, stop with the literal thinking. I’m not actually going to reach out and punch an agent.)

When you’re taking the action of submitting your stories to a market, make sure it’s a good fit. Yes, this might narrow the field of markets, but if you have enough stories under your belt, you can submit several stories into the world at the same time.

There is no such thing as failure. There is only experience.
~ Terry Mixon

When I receive a rejection, I have one of two reactions:

If it’s a form letter, I “meh” about it for a few seconds and file it away into my rejection email folder. Those don’t hurt me. They don’t stop me. I hardly experience them at all. If I receive a personalized rejection letter, I experience those. I read them. I re-read them. I ingest them into my spirit and being. I learn what I can from them. I improve where I can from the feedback. I do not fail because of them. Then I file them away in my rejection email folder along with all the rest.

I encourage you to do the same. Keep the rejections. Learn from them. Live through them. Succeed in spite of them. You can do it. I know you can.

Now, go forth and get rejected!

(Because, between those rejections, there will be acceptances.)

About the Author: J.T. Evans writes fantasy novels. He also dabbles with science fiction and horror short stories. He is the president of Pikes Peak Writers. When not writing, he keeps computers secure at the Day Job, homebrews great beers, spends time with his family, and plays way too many card/board/role-playing games.