We hear it over and over again–rejection comes with the territory. Writers get tons of them—drawers, bathroom walls, whole houses of rejections, or now megabytes and gigabytes of rejections in email. We need to have thick skins.
True, but this is also true. Rejections still hurt–whether it’s like a pinprick, a stubbed toe, a hangnail, a paper cut, or a more serious gash, there is that bit of pain.
This year, I’ve been trying to submit much more than in the past, aiming for 100 submissions—or even 100 rejections. At the rate I’m going, the latter is close to the former. And if all those rejections are toughening up my hide, they still hurt. They accrue—the weight of it, of them. I start to wonder whether I should even bother, whether any of my work is going to get accepted or whether I’ve hit a slack patch, a garden of tiny knives.
This is to say that if you’re at any time feeling discouraged, I’m with you. I understand that it’s hard. Together, we’ll keep learning and growing, writing our best and sending it out. We can look at the poems that come back as perhaps commentary, perhaps a chance to make that work better. We can remind ourselves that this is not the end of the world. We can remind ourselves that the important thing really is the writing, the act, the practice. But we don’t have to pretend that it’s easy every day.