You Came Close–What to Do With Your Personal Rejections

My writer friends and I have been talking a lot lately about the nature of submissions, and more specifically about personal rejections and how much encouragement we take from them. Where academics expect feedback on the papers they send out for publication and often get the chance to revise their work based on their peers’ recommendations, the creative writer sending out unsolicited work rarely gets either.

I recently went through my “personal rejections” folder and found encouraging messages, and even some helpful revision advice, that I’ve received over the last decade, from which I assembled the following collage. This one goes out to all of the editors out there doing the good/ hard/ important work, and especially to those who (every once in a while) make time to add an encouraging note to an otherwise canned response.

                                     you came so close

and

                      Although

                         I really enjoyed what I read

and

                                         This is excellent work.

and

You have command of your audience.

and

                                                      Your story is a powerful one

                     we have decided against using

your work

            this piece

                                                your recent submission.

Although we’re passing on this group of work

and

                We regret that we are unable to publish it.

I’d like you to keep me posted as your writing career develops.

Though

                we found your work engaging,

we appreciated the theme

we found the work to be strong

              we were interested

                                         We enjoyed your story

We’re going to have to pass

                                   your piece

didn’t fit the narrative voice that has developed for this anthology

and

         does not meet our current needs

and

we couldn’t find a place for it in this issue

and

                                                                     the story may be longer than it need be

Though

we wanted to let you know that we read it with more than the casual amount of interest,

that your work in some way caught our eye.

We admired many aspects of your piece

and

                                     We appreciate the hard work

and

                                    We appreciate the efforts

and

           several of us read it and remarked that we felt that it was deftly written

and

                                  we’re intrigued by the writing,

and

                                 we enjoyed reading your story

Though

                      we’re going to pass on it

Unfortunately

and would like to encourage you to send us more writing soon

and

                   would be glad to see more of it.

While

                                                          in the end we have decided against publishing

you

                                                                  we

regret that.

submit again.

                given the volume of submissions we receive,

even quality work often has to be declined.

Unfortunately

          submit again.

                         I wanted you to know that out of

             649 applications

                              nearly 800 entries,

                                                                more than one thousand entries,

Your writing has surpassed hundreds

         that yours was one of thirty-one manuscripts

was one of the eight finalists.

and

                                                                           it made our final round for this volume.

I hope you will be encouraged

Our readers and judge thought very highly of your work,

and it was not an easy decision

You

             came close.

                                Please submit to us again.

 

-Jonathan Escoffery, 2017 Ivan Gold Fellow

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