I received a rejection letter on August 2nd from an editor of a literary journal. Before I even opened the envelope (my SASE) I knew that it was a “No.” The envelope was thick and likely contained the handful of poems I had sent in. It did. On my cover letter, the editor had written: “Sorry to say no. The Editor.”
Sure, I was disappointed. It could have been worse. No reply at all would have worse. “NO!” would have hurt. “Mr. McBride, please consider keeping your day job” would have been even worse.
A friend of mine who is a poet and writer advised me to “use rejection letters to paper your study! Always have a new [submission] ready to pop in the next post.”
The bulk of rejection letters I’ve received have been kind. One editor re-wrote one of my short poems. Now, that is gold! Another editor wrote that my poems “were engaging” but “not up to all of our standards.” That is actually very encouraging!
I remain disappointed; however, I treat these rejection letters as “Not Yet” letters.
I love the magic of an acceptance letter, or even an acceptance email! I want more – OK, many more – of those!
So, I won’t give up. I’ll revisit the poems, tweak them, read them out loud, and rewrite. I’ll check the line breaks; do the line breaks work? Then, I’ll send them out again!
For my readers who are writers: press on with your writing. Keep true to your vision for your writing. Press on; don’t give up! Treat any rejection letters you receive as “not yet” letters!