Sunday, January 08, 2012

It Wasn't Rejected, It Was Declined

Okay, so maybe it's a matter of semantics. But you have to admit, rejection has such a negative connotation that even saying the word is difficult. It feels personal and permanent. Loser. Unworthy. Reject. See what I mean?

I prefer the word declined. This seems less personal. Passive, in fact. Do you want some more mashed potatoes? No thanks, I'll decline. No big deal. Passing on a good thing for now. You're potatoes were wonderful, Aunt Molly, really. I'm just stuffed. Hear what I'm saying?

That being said, I got my first, declination of 2012. I felt sad...for a few seconds...for the market that passed on my story! Then I turned around and submitted it to another magazine.

In fact, I was hoping I'd get the inevitable out of the way early in the year. Since Christmas I've sent 7 stories "off to market" and have been sort of waiting for the shoe to drop. Well, the first publication (of many, I'm sure) to decline one of my stories finally came through and we can now put that concern to bed. It's time to wake up and start submitting.

Oh, and remember. Babe Ruth led the league in strikeouts in 1927...the same year he hit 60 home runs.

For discussion: How do you approach so-called rejection?


  1. How do I approach rejection? It depends.

    Some rejections are more frustrating than others (like when I received my 23rd straight rejection from one particular venue). Some are huge disappointments, while others are to be expected.

    I keep saying I'm going to give up, but then I turn around and keep sending rejected material back out there. I may rant and rave about the more frustrating ones (on my blogs and Facebook), and may even rule out a few markets in some instances, but I tend to keep submitting. Certain rejections may make me change my tactics, and some may lead me to believe a particular work is in need of revision, but rejected works eventually go back out.

  2. Good word, Richard. Thanks for commenting. I agree, we should send them back out eventually. If we don't send a story back out, then that one is sidelined and people won't get a chance to read it. But even then, it may not be a "permanent" loss - we can all learn from what we've written whether it gets published by someone else or not. Best wishes in 2012.

  3. Taking this chance to use the limerick I wrote about this very subject (which was, ironically, accepted and published in "Writers' Journal" magazine):

    The bitterest juice of the vine
    Is a letter that offers decline.
    To tears I succumb,
    And relinquish aplomb
    By drowning my sorrows in whine.

  4. Yep, I use declined on my special short story submissions spreadsheet -- for exactly the reasons you gave!

  5. Thanks, Milo, for that amen. Also, one reason I don't publicly list the pubs I've subbed to, I don't want to embarrass them when they pass and I get accepted somewhere else! :)


Keep it clean and positive. (And sorry about the word verification, but the spmb*ts are out in full force!)