Watching the baseball game last night I heard the announcer comment during a pitching change that the relief pitcher “better have a short memory.” He was referring to not letting the three run homer the pitcher gave up the night before affect his performance in tonight’s game.
I have learned that if I want to be a writer I “better have a long memory.”
Yesterday, I received the much too familiar, large manila envelope in my mailbox. This of course signaled yet another rejection. There is nothing more depressing than receiving a rejection slip in an envelope you helped fill out.
I sliced open the envelope and read the letter. Thank you for your submission. We receive a large volume of manuscripts per year and can publish only a small few. Not what we are looking for at the moment.
Translation: Stop bothering us. Your story is a bunch of hog manure.
I placed the letter on top of the overflowing box of rejections at my feet, put my hands on my head and sat back to do a little self talk. I believe all struggling writers must get good at this talk.
That is when it dawned on me… I had just received a rejection slip but had not submitted that particular story in years.
I sprang to the edge of my seat and opened up the spreadsheet I use to track my submissions. I scanned down the list looking for this specific publisher. I had to scan pretty far down the list because it had been 18 months since I had sent out that manuscript.
Let me put that in perspective for a moment... it took me one and a half years or 570 days to get rejected. Phileas Fogg could have circled the world seven times in that timeframe.
Since I sent out that manuscript here is a list of things that have happened:
· Chilean miners saved after 69 days
· The president of Honduras was overthrown in a coup
· The H1N1 virus took over the country
· We found water on the moon
· Humans trapped antimatter
· And Pepsi changed its logo
I read that a writer receives an average of forty rejections to every published story. Let’s for a moment pretend these odds are correct. At my current rate I will be… let me figure this out a moment… hold on… bear with me, I’m a writer not a mathematician… okay I got it… I will be 97 by the time I publish my first story.
I will be reading my first published novel from my nursing home bed while sipping a nice plastic glass of prune juice. Someone who is born tomorrow could read my first book on the day they retire.
Where is the nearest bridge? Someone stop me. A year and a half to get rejected! My mother would have the National Guard on my case if it took me a year and a half to return her phone call. I would be in prison if it took me that long to pay my taxes.
I need help. I need counseling. I think I may be hyperventilating. Why did I choose this profession? Catch me… I am about to faint.