Rejection by Lauren Camp

Rejection: The Bugger
by Lauren Camp
Some days I get big doses of luck. Some weeks are just miraculous.
And some days I get rejections. In the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a boat-full of rejections. In fact, it seems like a cruise ship full of rejections, not a skimpy little skiff’s worth.
Sometimes when editors notify me that my few poems just aren’t right for their journal, I forget all the editors who have been astoundingly encouraging. Whatever good thing happened yesterday or last week is pretty much washed away in the big wave of rejection.
Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s like you’re watching every last vestige of yourself float off.
Recently, I was complaining about rejection to my friend Ann and she congratulated me. She said she hadn’t gotten any rejections that week — or that month. My confused silence followed. She was jealous of my rejections because she hadn’t found the time or been brave enough to send work out.
Samuel Beckett wrote, ““Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
You can’t help but fail sometimes. Send your best work out anyway, and I will too. Every single rejection brings you closer to a “yes.” In fact, let’s make a pact to send some of our finest work out to three journals before the end of the month. If you get a rejection or two, congratulate yourself. You can’t fail better. Holler out at me, and I’ll sympathize.
Rejections don’t in any way determine whether or not you are a writer, or even whether or not you’re a good writer.
I believe this with all my heart.
I have been enjoying Lauren Camp’s poetry blog, and am re-printing from it.

5 thoughts on “Rejection by Lauren Camp

  1. Good to hear this, Lauren. Practicing putting yourself out there – whether as a job interview, college application, art submission or writing is plain good for you. Had a conversation about this very thing with Anne and Stephanie in reference to college applications – how treating each one like” practice” is good. I, too, have had amazing amount of rejections these past 3 years with art submissions – like to 6 or 7 shows. But just recently I had an acceptance that was sincere and fully-cognizant of my work, so it was worth the wait. Glad you shared your experience and take on “rejection.”

  2. Thanks to all of you for having my back on this issue. I realize rejection is something we all face IF we want an audience for our work. If we’re satisfied to create for ourselves, we never have to come up against any rebuffs of what we’ve made, but – as Cirrelda says, the effort is necessary. It is only in this way that we can get that next emphatic “yes.”

  3. Lauren–good for you, for writing about this, and for sending your work out regularly. Very honest post–I wish I didn’t relate to it, but I do! And I’m going to read this to my writing students this week! You are not alone…..;-)

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