Kathy Sloan

Rejections stink.

There is no other way to describe it (well there is but I’m trying to keep this clean…).

As writers, we pour our hearts and souls into our writing in the hopes that someone will read it and be inspired or touched by it.

For us unpublished folk, more importantly, we want to know, am I any good?

So we send our pieces out into the world hoping for a morsel of encouragement only to get this back: “Sorry to say, Kathy, that we will not be using this submitted work, and do wish you the best of luck with it elsewhere.”

A rejection like that doesn’t really help anyone, especially an unpublished writer, understand whether or not they write well or if they should give up entirely.

One of my recent rejections stated that my piece was great but that it didn’t “strike a chord” with the editor. A chord? What chord would you like me to strike exactly? Tell me and I’ll do it!

Receiving rejections is a hard thing to process. It doesn’t matter how many you get you can’t help but feel horrible about yourself.

Lately, I’ve struggled with whether or not to keep writing and submitting because it is beginning to feel like self-abuse.

My father passed away in January and a few weeks ago, my mother wanted his office cleared out. He was a sentimental guy who saved just about everything so the task was big.

In the midst of all the old receipts, bank statements, and manuals for everything he ever purchased I came across the most amazing thing. A folder full of rejection letters.

My father, along with a friend, had a side business where they manufactured and sold how to teach yourself to juggle kits. This I knew about. What I didn’t know is that back in 1972 (when I was two) that they wrote a training manual for operating powered industrial trucks.

As I sat on the floor of my mother’s dining room, sifting through my father’s letters of rejection (which I can’t believe he saved!), I was in tears. I was sad that my father and I shared this connection but never discussed it. He knew about my blogs and novels so I couldn’t help but wonder why he never shared his book with me. My father was a humble man and he probably thought that since it was so long ago that it wasn’t relevant.

After reading a few of his rejection letters, my sadness subsided and I began to feel reassured. Here is one of my Dad’s rejections:

Dear Bob:

Sorry we couldn’t justify a market for your industrial truck training course. I think it is well done, and I hope you find someone to help you get it in the market.

Best Regards.

Eventually they did find a publisher who loved their book and published it. The lesson for me: just keep trying. Thanks Dad for that one last piece of advice.

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