This morning, I read an interesting and encouraging article about rejection and the writing game entitled “I’m Almost 40 and Still Getting Rejected–Am I Running Out of Time?” Hell, I’m 43 and get rejections at least once a week, and I don’t think I’m running out of time.
That doesn’t mean I don’t understand the writer’s anxiety…I’m just not in that place anymore. Rewind time to twenty years ago, and I was terrified that I was running out of time. I compared myself to other writers who had prizes and accolades and book contracts. Surely, their lives were perfect, and I was slowly sinking into obscurity, destined to be a chain-smoking, hard-drinking writer who would never find success.
Fortunately, I don’t feel that way anymore (and I got sober, but that’s a different story altogther). I identify as a writer and always will, but it isn’t my job. It doesn’t pay the bills. It’s something I do and will continue doing, regardless of publications.
According to Duotrope, I have a six percent acceptance rate. That’s out of 123 poems sent in the last 12 months, and I have 331 poems recorded in Duotrope, ready to submit at a moment’s notice. I could look at that six percent and despair, but I choose to say, “Hell, yeah! Six percent, baby!”
I linked to the article above to encourage others who might be in the writer’s position of dread and anxiety. It’s not too late to publish and find success, however you define it. Keep writing, keep submitting, and keep trusting your voice.
Below is a poem that was rejected a few days ago. I love it. Also, the fact that it was rejected by a market doesn’t mean it isn’t good or even worthy of publication. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong editor…take your pick. I’m happy to post my poems here, where they’re always welcome.
Baby Omar Frees His Mother
Baby Omar ate a dagger, which shocked us all.
That is, we never figured him for a dagger-eater,
especially since his father was so adverse to pointy
things, beginning with his head, coned and sweaty.
Moving on, Baby Omar’s mother was a nasty piece
of work, half-crippled and ruinous with grief, given
to making words up in prison: persmitten, verbonded,
ecglectic. One day, the guards ushered in Baby Omar.
“Pillious boy!” she said and covered him in hot tears.
Baby Omar vomited up a dagger, and thus his mother
freed herself, slashing at all in her way, her child grinning
like the wild thing he was, morphiat and cersicklind.