I read something recently which said you should aim for 100 rejections per year. The logic was pretty sound, I’d say – if you aim for and achieve 100 rejections per year, you are likely to have made a hell of a lot more submissions than that. A hell of a lot more submissions will probably mean some publication acceptances in there somewhere, and publication credits should be, after all, the aim of every serious writer (right?)
I’m not so sure. The awful thing about publication credits is that you can often feel, shall we say, somehow lesser-than a serious writer if you don’t have them! Suppose we all aimed for 100 rejections this year, made 200 submissions and received 200 rejections? We would have met the intended 100 rejections but I’m guessing we’d feel a whole lot less accomplished for it!
Here’s why I like this objective as a resolution – it isn’t one of those outcome-oriented goals that can wither into the ether by Valentine’s Day when the outcome is looking a whole lot less likely than it did when, in the optimistic first blush of a new year and a clean slate, you wrote the wretched thing down in the first place. I like aiming for 100 rejections as a New Year’s Resolution because it means, simply, that you are doing the work, doing it quickly, divorcing yourself from the outcome and doing it anyway.
I thought of a slightly amended resolution (since it’s New Year’s Day and one or more resolution(s) is, after all, what you do when you don’t have enough of a social life to have a New Year’s Eve party to go to, far less to get so totally soused that you fall flat on the ground and cover your head with every pop of the fireworks). Here’s the resolution: this year I will make 365 submissions, one for each day of 2017. I have a friend (who actually has a life and did the totally soused thing last night) who says that in 2017 she will be speaking positively in every aspect of her life. By her reasoning, ‘rejections’ shouldn’t be part of my intention simply because I don’t want them. So submissions it is.
Here’s the fine print – I have to make one submission each day, 5 submissions in one day will not cover me for the next 4 days. Submissions include query letters and I can query the same publication more than once, with different work, within their guidelines.
So next New Year’s Eve if I’m still without an agent, publisher, book deal or enough of a social life to have a party invitation? I still win!
Who’s with me?