Okay, so I’ve written about rejection a lot of times. Like, a whole lotta times. But since the story I revised and returned to my wonderful editor is still deemed insufficiently engaging by her, I’m coping with rejection again. (Honestly, she gave me the option of cutting half its length, but I have officially washed my hands of the whole situation.) If I have to cope with it, I might as well post about it. Continue reading
Last year’s Thanksgiving post deserves a second helping. And if you need more reasons to thank G-d for your rejection letters, check out a story by Nina Badzin here.
Thanksgiving is upon us here in the U.S., and this is a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon gratitude, whether you celebrate the holiday or not. I’m a big fan of Rabbi Zelig Pliskin and also of Rabbi Shalom Arush, and I’m going to combine their approaches for this writing exercise appropriate to the Thanksgiving season and year-round. This exercise is useful whether you’re Jewish or not–please don’t get turned off to it just because it was inspired by a couple of rabbis.
Rejection is just about the hardest thing to cope with when you decide you’re going to become a writer, but it’s something that you need to learn to accept graciously. When that rejection letter first comes, you are often overwhelmed by feelings of resentment, anger, and frustration. You might lash out, calling the editors idiots or saying that the publisher doesn’t know what good writing is. You…
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Yesterday, I got a rejection letter.
Yes, it happens a lot.
I’ve argued in the past that rejection letters are good for you, and I’ve gotten better at taking them in stride, but this one went even further. Its timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
You see, last night was my monthly writers’ workshop. All morning, I’d been trying to decide on a piece to bring and share. When that rejection letter appeared in my inbox around noon, I decided it was a sign.
Not just a sign, but a Sign — “This is the piece you should bring to your writers’ workshop tonight.”
So, I did.
And it was magical.
Our group was smaller than usual, consisting of just three of us (usually, we’re four or five). But the two other ladies present gave me so much insight about what worked in my story and what did not, feedback that I might have been less open to, had I not just received the rejection letter. I spent a good chunk of this morning working on revisions, and plan to wrap them up tomorrow in between baking my challah and roasting my chicken.
I’m still hoping that the next time I hear from an editor, they send an acceptance letter. (To say that I pray for acceptance letters is no exaggeration.) But this experience is definitely going to help me embrace the next rejection letter.
Because another will surely come.
My sister attended Conservative rabbinical school here in L.A. back when I was a California greenhorn, still getting confused because the ocean was to the west instead of east, that people called flip-flops slippers and jimmies, sprinkles. At the time, I was exploring Orthodoxy, but shared many of my sister’s friends from the UJ (now American Jewish University) and her Conservative synagogue. Despite my move to Orthodoxy, I remain friendly with many of her friends and colleagues.
Recently, one of my sister’s classmates came out with a book. Naturally, I was excited, so I checked read the synopsis on Amazon.
Within 30 seconds, I decided that I couldn’t and wouldn’t read the book. Continue reading
Since there are just two weeks left of the Jewish year of 5773, I’ve been looking back at the last year and evaluating my life on every level: spiritual, physical, and even professional. And one goal still stands out at unfulfilled:
I STILL HAVEN’T PUBLISHED BOOK #2.
This issue depressed me a couple weeks ago, as I sat in front of my journal on Rosh Chodesh Elul (exactly one month before Rosh Hashanah), scribbling about the past year. I’d submitted a few picture books and two novels to multiple publishers and had zilch to show for it.
But then I counted how many times I appeared in print in the last year for pay: over two dozen times (bli ayin hara).
And then, I counted how many words I’d written. Essentially, it was the length of a novel. Wow.
I realized at that point how many more readers — potentially thousands more people — read my work in magazines this year than in my entire previous professional life.
That’s when I felt blessed.
Okay, I still have a major unfulfilled goal. It will be top of my professional goals again for this 5774. But if success is measured in progress, I made a lot of progress last year. And I could only do it with G-d’s help, which makes the year feel very sweet indeed.
How are you feeling about your last year, professionally? What is your top goal for 5774?
I’m sure I’ve blogged about rejection numerous times at this point, but since I continue to collect rejection letters, why not continue blogging about them?
Over the summer, I wrote a story that my husband adored. He likes almost all my stories, but this one he really, really liked. He particularly enjoyed the nasty anti-hero at the center of the story and the unhappy ending.
On the other hand, I didn’t like the way I’d originally executed my idea, so I set it aside for a couple months. Eventually, I brushed it off and polished it up a bit before sharing it with my writing group. They provided extensive feedback, and I acted on it, hoping that the new, much improved story would dazzle the editors. Continue reading