This isn’t my first rejection, but this is my first, physical rejection letter as an adult writer. I’ve thought about scrapbook-ing both my triumphs and failures, but “failures” seems too harsh of a word for a rejection letter. I put my words out there, I tried. And I shot for the moon in this case. The Sun Magazine is the ultimate goal for me. Next would probably be writing profiles for Rolling Stone Magazine, but I need a bit more experience before that happens. (Appreciate the baby steps, people.) I love the authors/writers that the aforementioned have published. The literary diversity teaches me so much about my own writing with each new issue.
I remember when I was first introduced to this magazine. I was in my junior year of college, and my professor for a creative writing course passed around several back issues. I fell in love with the design of it, the way it held in my hands–and more importantly–the content. Since delving into creative nonfiction going back 5 years now (more, if you count the years I was doing it without realizing it), I have imagined myself published as a nonfiction writer in a literary magazine. Since exploring what the editors of that North Carolinian magazine have to offer, I know I want my byline printed boldly–online and physically–in The Sun Magazine.
Have you ever had to deal with rejection? Sure, on an emotional level with maybe someone you have liked or loved, you have–everyone has, and I’m not discrediting that feeling. But what about for something that you’ve poured hours, days, weeks, months and maybe even years into creating? How did you handle that rejection when it came? It’s hard to take it well. Perhaps in my more seasoned time as a writer I have a better perspective on things. I’ve seen all sides of the process from the bottom-of-the-barrel writer doing the grunt work to the editor-in-chief holding it all together. Maybe that’s the real reason I can take it in stride. It’s taken me a while to get here, though. Even now, some basic criticisms sometimes don’t land as easily as the criticizer expects or wants.
Some have value, some don’t, and I do have a tendency to want to argue my side. Something to remember: Editors are readers. They aren’t just there to check for grammar and content; they are your audience, same as the eventual readers who will stumble across your work later. The same goes for anything you put out into the world. I guess you could even say that for yourself. It’s a strange world when you feel like you’re rejected by it. Learning how to handle the rejection with poise and confidence is the key.