100 rejections: May update

Just as the wall around the city begins to crack and we’re denied the best and most legal of reasons to not leave the house (namely that it was pretty much illegal), it’s time to report in on how May went for rejections.

If you don’t know, those of us in (the Australian) Victoria have just had a one-week lockdown, which, and I mean this in the least dramatic way possible, is like when you forget to save the assignment you’ve been working on for three months and you suddenly have to redo the whole thing, but in a week because that’s how long you have this time. Same dizzying heights, same crashing lows. Victoria had some of the longest and most restrictive lockdowns in the world in 2020, and while we’ve been mostly lucky in 2021, snap lockdowns are a reminder of how much we all hate recycled storylines. However…

We’re here for the rejections…

If there was ever a year to reach for failure, it was last year, but this year is probably fine as well. When I left you all at the end of April, I made the comment that I wanted to try and catch up so that I was at 50 rejections (or 50 somethings) for the end of June. Am I much closer?

Not really.

I submitted four things in the month of May. While that’s woefully low, that might actually be my most productive month so far (I’m sorry, dear reader, but I have slightly cheesed my numbers with some failures from 2020. They’re not old, they’re vintage). While my approach has always been to set the bar low so that everyone can reach it, I do have to ask myself if this is likely to work out. The short answer to this is probably not. The solution is to write more so that I have more things in the mix to submit. Turns out that sometimes it’s hard to find inspiration — I wonder if anyone has ever asked famous authors where they get their ideas from?

But really, no. What I need to do is read more and get back out into the world so that I find things to write about. Earlier in the year there was a spoken word event here and it gave me ideas for two poems (one that I still need to write, the other is languishing in a submissions inbox). Poetry isn’t my forte, but it’s fun to play around with, and it’s always nice to feel inspired. Here’s hoping that I can manage more than four submissions for June though. I also need to work out a system for determining whether places are likely to actually get back to me, or whether their offices are like the Marie Celeste and it’s just a new email notification blinking on a laptop someone didn’t have the time to close all the way.

Anyways, what have I been up to?


21 submissions so far:

  • 9 rejections
  • 3 failed rejections (acceptances, wheee)
  • 1 tentative (I just emailed to follow up)
  • 8 pending (oldest is from 7 December)

Thoughts so far

  • The place that took seven months to reject me sent me a form rejection (fine), that didn’t even use my name, and couldn’t even manage a ‘sorry’ for taking so long to get back to people (opting for ‘apologies’ instead). That piece was submitted elsewhere and accepted in a week (it will be published in August). Don’t chase the ones who won’t love you back. They asked me to consider submitting in the future, I mentally decided to hope for the heat death of the universe instead. Let’s see which one happens first.
  • A site that’s currently holding three of these submissions has started publishing again after a delay (my oldest unanswered submission to them is from December), so I’m expecting some rejections soonish.
  • One of my rejections was from a place that had published me this year, which is honestly good to know. That nasty little voice in your head creeps in sometimes and wonders if you just found the places that will publish anything, so it’s good to know that that’s not the case. Unfortunately that might be the end of the line for that piece.
  • I’m still waiting on a piece that was accepted September 2020 to be published. I’ve started submitting it elsewhere while I’m still waiting (they told me they’d start publishing again at the end of March, but haven’t), but it’s a bit of a nightmare. Trying to do the right thing by editors and platforms as a writer is hard when I’ve seen better organised bowls of spaghetti.

Shorter thoughts

  • It’s hard to get things reprinted. Pick your first place of printing carefully.
  • Writing is easy, editing/redrafting is hard.
  • Twitter is weird.

Moving forward

Write more, submit more, right? Right.

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