WRITERS MISERIES AND NIGHTMARES: REJECTION | John Chizoba Vincent

Since 2016, I've had these three magazines (I will likely not mention their names here) that I have been submitting my poems to and they keep rejecting them. It seems like their rejection emails are written or encoded because of me. They have the same words, same editor' names and the same greetings as usual. The other day, I was talking to a friend who told me that perhaps the editors did not like my work or I am yet to meet their standards. But the truth of the matter is that, I have read through their terms and conditions, I have gone through their submission criteria yet, nothing seems to be working. I went to a friend that is also their contributor and asked him how he usually submit his work, he told me but I tried it to the three magazines and it bounced back on me like before. There was a particular day I wrote three poems and decided to submit to three of them immediately, as a Nigerian, I prayed and prayed and covered my write ups with the blood of Jesus and asked God to touch the heart of any editor that the work is going to meet first but after three days, the work bounced back to me. I now realized that it is not by prayer or fasting while submitting your work. It only takes grace for those online editors to accept your work.

 

 

just have it in mind that you would be rejected many times as long as you are a writer.


 

This is one of those miseries and nightmares that writers face out there. You spend nights and nights on your computer keyboard, striking the keys, thinking and reminiscing, jotting things down and critically brain-storming out many ways you can best convince your readers and audience and suddenly after writing this wonderful work of  yours, you submit it with the hope that you have done one of the best things in life and then work comes back to you, crying. We all have been in this shoe. There are times you feel like you are not a better writer, there are times when those works are rejected and it dawn on you like a fresh ice on your flesh that there is nothing you can do about it. And sometimes, rejection can bring writer’s block. Once you want to pen anything down, your spirit reminds you that your previous work was rejected by the same magazine you are about to send this one to. The same spirit don’t tell you how else you can be able to write it but it always there to remind you that this work you are writing now will definitely be rejected. It is like that. I have heard many writers cry out loud, to the loudest of their voices how the work they thought would be the best of all were rejected. One thing I understood about these magazines is that they have a pattern, they know what they want in their mind for a particular issue of their magazine and if your work or write up does not meet up with their theme, it would be rejected.

 

 

...these magazines is that they have a pattern, they know what they want in their mind for a particular issue of their magazine and if your work or write up does not meet up with their theme, it would be rejected.

 


Not only online magazines reject works but publishing houses does the same thing. They weigh your manuscript, those manuscripts submitted by different authors and writers. They know their market strategies, they know what their customers or readers want and the kind of story or novel that would move and, if your manuscript is not among those they deem fit, it would simply be rejected. The first time my manuscript was rejected by then Oceanic Publishers in Lagos, I was sad. I had spent a huge amount of money on the editor that worked it. I looked at the time I spent writing in midnights when everyone else is sleeping, the candles I burnt, the sleepless nights I waited typing on my laptop; the mockery from siblings and many others who think you will never amount to anything as a writer. It seems as if their words or dreams have finally come to reality when they see you putting on a sad face. Perhaps they are already waiting for you to break the sad news of your rejection to them especially when you have boastfully told them how the story you are writing would make headlines.

This is not safe for writers. It breaks them and gives them many reasons to give up in their pursuit as writers. I could remember a friend telling me how devastated he was the morning a magazine sent him a rejection letter about a work he spent time to write, sent to his editor to be edited and later, it was rejected by this magazine. He sent it to another one, it was rejected, to another and the same thing happened. He called to ask me what might be the cause. He could not lay hold of what happened. I told him to re-edit the work and resend it to them which he did and it returned to him broken. We could not lay hold of the cause of the rejection but he never gave up in his submissions and now, he has more than ten magazines that accept his works daily. 

Rejection is part of a writer. Although it seems like a nightmare to some and to some, it is not. It is an avenue to work more on your craft and on your personality. It is an avenue to retrace your ways and learn how to cook up something that would last for a life time. 


 

Rejection is part of a writer. Although it seems like a nightmare to some and to some, it is not.


 

From the experiences and researches I carried out, I have not heard or seen a writer who was not for once rejected either by publishers or online magazines. it is common with writers but the question is:
What did you learn from your last rejection letter?
Do you give up at the first rejection?
Do you quit submitting to them after the first rejection?

The bitter truth is that work that is rejected may end up becoming your breakthrough, it may end up becoming your trademark in your writing career because every Author has a breakthrough book and if you fail to submit again to another magazine after the first rejection, you might be on the losing end.  Try not to give up when your work is rejected, try not to break down. I know how miserable it could be, I know how despondent and dejected it may look like; but try to try again. Try to try another door, maybe they will need it better than the first magazine, maybe the first magazine is not the home for that particular work. However, we have many other platforms where you can post your work yourself, so if those magazines don’t work try these places. Don’t keep those works to yourself. Someone out there needs to read it. Someone out there is interested in that work. Share it on facebook, WhatsApp groups and other literary sites that might be interested in it. Don’t depend and bank on magazines only. It may break you sometimes and the other times may gather your broken self together.
 
Even if a publishing house rejects your work or you don’t have an agent, try self-publishing or digital publishing which is common now. Don’t just allow that work of art to get rotten in your shelf because one magazine or publishing house rejected it. You can try self-publishing, make sure it is well edited, self-publish it and share for free among your circle of friends. Let them critique your work, let them fault you, let them tell you what they think about what you’ve written and how you can improve in it. Don’t start with money first because in this country where we are today some people won’t buy your books except you have a name out there. And have created a brand that they can reckon with. As for rejection, just have it in mind that you would be rejected many times as long as you are a writer.

But the truth of the matter is that if you could scale through rejection and heartbreaks of rejection, the other things won’t be too hard for you to scale through. I have seen many writers who stopped writing because they were rejected one time or the other and there is no way you can tell them that this thing is normal to all of us and they will understand you. I have also seen people who were rejected and later pick from their rejection. So, if you really want to write, get ready to be rejected at one point of your writing career, it is not a sin but it makes you a greater you. 

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