I often think of Stephen King, one of the most prolific, successful writers of our time, who has a piece of wood with a giant nail hammered into it holding all of his rejection notices.
Hemingway, before publishing The Sun Also Rises originally titled, Fiesta, couldn’t get any of his short stories sold. After the success of his first book, couldn’t sell them fast enough.
I try allowing both these tales to comfort when something I’ve bravely submitted gets trashed. Nowadays, you rarely even get a rejection letter. Now it’s creepy silence as if to say, you’re not even worth the time to politely say…no, it’s not what we’re looking for.
I too have a stack of letters from Vanity Fair, Elle, Ladies Home Journal, The Sunday Times, even The New Yorker saying, thanks, but no thanks. To think how bold I was sending my essays out as if I were Hemingway or a Stephen King stuns me.
I’ve grown gun-shy afraid to swim out too far into the deep waters of publishing. Part of me can’t take the rudeness more than rejection.
A good friend introduced me to someone doing movie and book reviews who was very polite as long as the three of us were cced. The moment I wrote without involving my friend, there was no response. I was trying to get my review on the book, The Comedians, seen not even for money, the biggest kick in the teeth.
It occurred to me, my blog could be a turnoff. The first thing they want are credits, but know athingirl.com isn’t for everyone, plus there’s no point in concealing it since, if you Google me everything short of my mother comes up, the internet knowing all.
That said…should I bag the blog to be more enticing with fewer essays? My immediate response, loving it as much as I do is, hell no.
The same friend who tried helping me suggested only writing themes that do well. I have an issue with that too. For me, one of the beauties of blogging is the freedom to pen whatever comes to mind, like an empty easel where your art can arrive organically, without edit, a grace in itself.
I remind myself, after putting my ego to bed, what a blessing having something you love caulking up all those holes in the past you expected others to fill. I’d rather write and rewrite, more than sitting in a bar looking to be admired. With the exception of reading, nothing is as satisfying. Besides all that, the relief is enormous having your needs met through your art alone.
Imagine independence doing the twist.