So…

About that failure thing.  I was thinking that writing is full of failure, and that one of the satisfying things about writing is picking your way through failure after failure until you find success.  But I was thinking that in terms of doing the work, not in terms of what happens to the work afterwards.  In terms of what happens to the work afterwards, it is good to fail to get published–to collect a lot of rejection slips–because a lot of rejection slips means a lot of sending out, and a lot of sending out means you are committing to getting your work out there and getting it published.  My Big Magazine Acceptance (in March) came after just about a year of sending work out and getting it returned.  I actually also recently collected a Good Rejection, which is a rejection that comes with a personal note that says “This was close, please try again.”

But how to talk about the failure that I’m currently feeling, which is that I am reading a really exciting anthology, and simultaneously admiring this book and feeling terribly left out of it?  If I had known that this book was happening, years ago when the editors began, I would have approached them; I didn’t know, though, and now this beautiful collection is in the world and I have forever missed the chance to contribute to it.  It’s full of people I know, which makes me feel even more overlooked.

All I know to do is to try to let this experience show me what I want.  I don’t want my work to be overlooked.  I need to write more, submit more.  There are editors who would look at my book–I need to submit it to them.  And there’s a conference coming up that falls in an overlapping area–I’m going to submit to that, too, and try my damnedest to be part of it.  So that years from now, people will say to me, “You’re in that book, aren’t you?  You’re not?  What an oversight!”

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3 responses to this post.

  1. I love the “fail better” advice! This spring when I didn’t get into the NEH seminar I’d applied for, I realized it was the first rejection I’d gotten in a long time, which I think indicates that I hadn’t been pushing myself or trying for bigger things. (Or at least that’s what I told myself to take myself out of the funk of rejection.)

    So sorry to hear about the anthology. It sounds like you’re taking from your absence in it some powerful motivation for your work, which is great, but of course it is kind of a sad and discouraging moment as well. I’m glad that the positive is overcoming the negative.

    Reply

  2. Posted by meansomething on August 3, 2012 at 2:13 am

    Thanks, WN?. I like the idea that if you’re not getting rejected some, or failing some, it probably means you haven’t been risking enough.

    Reply

  3. […] did I mention that I had a poem accepted right before winter break, from the place that sent me a Good Rejection over the summer?  I don’t think I did!  I am very […]

    Reply

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