I Must Be Doing Something Right, Somewhere, Sometime, Maybe?

Since New Year’s Day, 24 publications have turned down my writing. Before that, I received ten rejections in December, which only tied my sixth worst monthly total for 2017! So yeah, I know the sting of rejection. Mostly it resembles a mosquito’s bite – a bit annoying, it disappears quickly. But one will occasionally strike like a scorpion – WHAM – and it swells and throbs for a while and I wonder why the hell I continue dallying with this odd thing we call poetry. I suppose it’s enough that from time to time a complete stranger will respond kindly, or an editor will ask to see a few pieces for consideration. Or a few poems get published in print…

My poetry has appeared in these print publications over the past year. Although much of my writing is published online, I’m still enamored with print. Something about the smell, the feel of paper. Ah, bliss.

And why do I continue writing? It’s the doing of it, the process. That is what really matters.

75 thoughts on “I Must Be Doing Something Right, Somewhere, Sometime, Maybe?

  1. Never lose sight, dear Bob, that the creation of beauty — and even those earnest, open-hearted, fully thought out attempts that ultimately seem to fall short — is the totality of your province. Answer the call of creation with your considerable gifts, and let the results be heard by those who have ears to hear. I’m glad I’m one of them, as are your many other readers. You have consoled, inspired and moved me, and I thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Absolute agreement with your bottom line. Writing is an organic need for some of us!
    You are definitely doing something right … rejects are bound to outnumber accepts!
    Curious, what creative thing do you do with reject notices? Annual marshmallow roast?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just about everything I send out gets published, but some of the pieces take a little (or a lot) longer. Back in my earlier days, when submissions were done through the mail, I used to keep rejection slips in a box, and would read through them from time to time. I still have the box and those rejections, but haven’t much to add to it unless I start printing out all of the email rejections I receive. But that would be too many!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. In the past six months, I’ve received 20 rejections for my book. Some days, it really gets to me; other days, I remember I’m not writing for “them”…but the wish to connect with other like-minded spirits remains strong. So I keep writing. I hope I always can and always do. I wish the same for you — and that you continue to forge strong connections with those who inspire and appreciate your craft.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ouch! I certainly understand those feelings. It seems to me to be a labor of “being” – this is what I’ve chosen to do with my days. Funny – I just now received a rejection, my fourth of the month, as I wrote that last sentence. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • What’s funny is that I believe more people have the opportunity to read our online publications than those in print. Still, the former bookseller and collector in me can’t help but love the tangible artifact.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Your post definitely rings true, and not just in getting published somewhere. Just consider how tedious the job hunt is, when you are applying and applying, and there is always nothing to show for it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are right, Ellen. When I first started out lo those many years ago, rejections were initially devastating. I got over that within the first year. Now I mostly shrug, and look for somewhere else to send the rejections.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. You seem like a very intentional writer. Who are your intended readers? Do you have any in your circle of friends?

    Every publisher receives hundreds of unsolicited candidates each year. What criteria do they use to “triage” what they get? Who are the writers they always publish?

    Rejections say, “we do not have an audience for this among our readers.” or, “we look for a very specific type or style of writing.” New authors always have a hard task to get noticed and read. Imagine yourself with piles of fat envelopes growing every time the post office delivers.

    They try to get through them as fast as possible. They might take a glance at the synopsis, the page count, conforming format, and throw it in one pile or the other; for rejection,(the big pile) further reading,(the small pile) and “on-the-mark.” (on their desk). If I had a book to pitch, I would put the synopsis on the back of the envelope with the number of pages and the format used, along with my name, address and phone number (wishful thinking;). Your writing is right for someone, you just have to find out whom.

    Liked by 3 people

    • My readers tend to be lovers of language, well read people who possess a philosophical bent, and who aren’t turned off by being asked to think a bit. Only a handful of my local friends are interested in poetry, but I have quite a few friends and acquaintances spread across the globe who are also writers.

      And you’re right – the writing is right for someone. Most of what I produce eventually gets published. Some of it takes longer to find the right match.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I consider that a great accomplishment, Robert, and an even better attitude! I am sans blog on WordPress (again) to simplify my life and recalibrate it to a more local scale, and being published won’t be on my mind again until the book’s finished, but I agree with you 100% on the unique joys of the typeset page. One’s fingers should catch a little on the words, along with one’s imagination. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ve had similar thoughts lately. I got a rejection day before yesterday that stung, then woke up to an acceptance yesterday. I’m a low submitter and rarely have more than three subs out at once. It seems to cushion the rejections somewhat. I’m just happy that you blog so we can easily follow your published work!

    Liked by 2 people

    • When I started self-publishing (back in the ’90s), I took my first small book to a local printer to bind (staple bound). After that, I bought a comb binding machine from an office supply catalog, and wore out a few printer-copiers operating my own “press.” It was enough for me, at the time, because my audience was small and local. Now I send my manuscripts to print-on-demand providers, and although sales are slow, I enjoy having the national and international exposure.

      Liked by 2 people

      • There are some good small press publishers who use a POD model for their publications. If my full-length book doesn’t find a publisher in the next couple of years, I may submit to them. It surely is a hit and miss game!

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve considered self-publishing chapbooks, and might do so in the future. But I’ve not wanted the additional distraction, not to mention the lost writing time devoted to dealing with taking orders and shipping books. In other words, I’m lazy, 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am impressed by how much work you put in to your writing. I have been bookmarking a list of places that accept submissions for publications that you have posted. I appreciate the support and encouragement you give to others, as well as the quality of the writing you share with us. I hope to start sending out poems but I don’t know if I will be able to accept the rejections you speak of, Thanks for what you do. Dan

    Liked by 1 person

    • It took a long time, but I’m now able to devote most of my days to writing. I think of it as my work, my “job.” It’s fun, exasperating, fulfilling, and the rejections are part of it. Keep writing, Dan. Be kind, support other poets, and when you get rejected, send the poems out again. Persistence is the key to publication.

      Like

  9. Bob let’s be honest, we wrote to quiet the voices. Haha. Told my husband about the armpit poem this morning. He couldn’t stop laughing 😉 Your poetry is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is really encouraging to hear! As someone who is working on some short stories to publish soon (first time), I know I’ll get rejected a lot. It’s so much a part of the rhetoric around writing and publishing that I’m actually excited to get my first rejections. But I also know that if I’m not careful, they could strike me down. Good luck and good writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think this brings up the question of why we write? What is your purpose in writing poetry? I write to understand myself and the world. It is my way to survive and nurture my sensitive self. I only started sharing my poetry because my friends asked me to and now I enjoy sharing it with others. Thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I admire your persistence and honesty. I too went through a period like this — 48 consecutive rejections — but then an acceptance, 10 more rejections, then another and so on. Keep it going! [Somehow I know you will]

    Liked by 1 person

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