I sat down with my friend and planned on writing this article on what it’s like for your work to be rejected as a writer. Being rejected as a writer is having to say goodbye to an article that you’ve already put your heart and soul into. Sometimes, editors don’t even read past your title. They don’t like the title, they probably won’t like the piece.
But the way it turned out, I had to think about how far I’ve come as a writer.
I’ve had maybe fifteen or sixteen pieces published in Thought Catalog, some education magazines, Bored Panda, and some in the editing phase right now with a couple other magazines. I feel like my whole life has built up to this moment. I’ve kept dozens of diaries, journals, and notebooks of all subjects throughout my life. I used to spend hours pouring my thoughts and feelings into these pages, never expecting them to go anywhere.
Then one day I published a post on Tumblr.com. It was a crappy status about love. No one liked it and no one cared, but it felt good to put it out there into the world.
Here was someplace online where nobody knew me and it was the ultimate crime if someone from my real life were to find me there. So little by little, I put pieces of my soul out into cyberspace. On a good day, I would get ten likes. More often than not, I went unnoticed. So Tumblr became a sort of digital diary.
I quickly started to follow a lot of poetry blogs. I would read dozens of poems a day, slowly absorbing the technique, never realizing it. Then came the day I wrote a poem. Then another and another and it would spill out of me like tears.
The poems turned into short stories which inspired articles and soon I was writing about anything I could think of, in any form. I signed up with WordPress and made this website. I was determined to break away from the tragic teen slash hipster vibe of Tumblr that I so quickly learned to despise. I wanted a place of my own.
At first, like Tumblr, I went unnoticed. But I soon found myself being shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr by people I had never even met. Even one time, the mayor of a town in Germany shared my post on his Facebook page. It was pure euphoria; knowing that I had put something out there and people liked it. Not only did they like it, but they’re learning from it and feel inspired.
The next stage in my development as a writer was to begin to submit to third-party websites. I was so excited at the thought of being published. I submitted a piece I had worked really hard on to Buzzfeed Reader and was eagerly awaiting their response.
Okay, no big deal, we’ll just try another.
That hurt. It was strange for me to experience rejection by something that I was proud of. I felt conflicted and slightly hurt because what I was writing about was so personal and close to my heart. So I gave up. I put it in the back of my mind. Maybe writing would just be one of those things I do for fun. Nothing will ever come of it.
One day in January, I got a random spurt of confidence and submitted two pieces to Thought Catalog just for the hell of it. The worse thing that could happen was they rejected and then I move on with my life.
But I didn’t get rejected. I got published. I stared at my phone in shock. I started to get more notifications from my website and more and more articles getting submitted and moved into the editing phase.
That brings me to where I am now.
Knowing that I can finally do something with my writing is a really cool feeling. I’ve been submitting to more websites and getting published on even more. Poetry and fiction websites, travel and science. But the point I want to make isn’t what it’s like to be published. It’s about what happens along the way.
You put yourself out there, out into this world of judgment and criticism, and you have to accept that people may not like what you have to say. However, there may be a small group of people who relate so strongly to what you have to say that it inspires them and changes their life. If there’s any chance that people want to hear what I have to say, I’m going to keep writing about the things I love and keep opening discussions that I’d like to be addressed.
I’m in it for the long run. There’s no turning back now.
So this brings me back to the title. You, the person reading this, have looked at that unnecessarily long title and given my work a chance. So cheers to you. Thank you.
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