In all the excitement this week, I completely forgot to mention that I got an acceptance. Not a major one, but after a run of rejections, it made my heart grow lighter for a while. The Barrier Islands Review accepted a little story of mine called Catch of The Day . It made my day to be sure, even though my inbox also contained a rejection for another story, one I actually think is better.
But it's those little things that keep you going for another day. Sometimes the rejections pile up, and you go back to read the story and wonder why it has been rejected over and over. I have one that is up to its sixth rejection and I've had personal comments from three editors on it, and they all said something completely different was wrong with it. So I'm stumped. Clearly something isn't working, but what? I'm not going to send that one out again for a while. I'm going to sit on it, muse, and see if a fresh look in a month or so might illuminate the problem to me. If not, there's a publication called The Rejection Quarterly which only takes stories that have had 6 or more rejections. Not exactly something to aspire to, but certainly a last resort.
But I was talking about acceptance, not rejection. It is amazing how one little acceptance can wipe out the hurt of several rejections. I've come close to giving up so many times, and each time, something happens to give me a little ray of hope. Maybe I don't suck. Maybe I am meant to be doing this. Each acceptance bolsters that. The list of credits is like a wall, keeping out the negative thoughts that inevitably creep in when you've had a seemingly never-ending string of 'thanks, but we're going to pass' letters. You can grab hold of them and think to yourself, 'well, maybe you didn't like my work, but these places did!'
Writing is often a very solitary pursuit, and the rejections hit hard when you don't have anyone to bitch about them to. Non-writers don't understand the crushing feeling those e-mails bring. I am eternally grateful to my critique group because they pick me up when I'm so low I can't face sending another piece out. And when something has picked up multiple rejections, they're always willing to take another peek, try to figure out what might be holding it back from publication. They're the most important people in my writing life and I honestly wouldn't be here without them. I'd probably still be sitting around writing stuff that only I ever saw.
So when you have the chance, revel in your acceptances, your successes. They don't come often enough, so enjoy them.