Man, it’s been one of those weeks. You know the ones – you make a mistake early one, a really dumb one that was easily preventable if you’d had half-a-brain, and by Friday afternoon you’re at the bottom of a tailspin from hell where the world is a single chaotic mess and you get deep into the groove of wallowing in your own angst. Of course, by you I mean I. There’s a reason I avoid the internet on those weeks. History teaches us that no good comes from posting while engaging in massive acts of self-recrimination. Of course, history also teaches me that I have a habit of letting one mistake cascade into several in the same manner that this week did, so it’s not like I’m terribly good at learning things.
Then I got a rejection letter today, which snapped me right out of it and got me focused. There are a bunch of people who are going to suspect some level of irony in this statement, but it’s been about five months since someone said “thanks, but this isn’t for us,” and I’ve really, really missed getting rejection letters. You see, no rejection letters means you’re not making submissions, and not making submissions is a bad sign when you’re trying to pay your bills as a writer*. Plus, if you’re the kind of writer who responds to negativity as a challenge (and for all my sins, I am), rejection letters are the barb that keeps you writing. Nothing gets under my skin and makes me want to write more stories and better stories like an editor saying no.
*Admittedly, I’m only paying *some* of my bills as a writer, but I’ve noticed the absence since slacking off on the short-story front towards the end of last year.