Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rejection and Work


It is something that all writers have to deal with. Over the past couple of years I think I have gotten a pretty thick skin about it. I think writing short fiction had helped me with it. Personal taste is a big part of what gets rejected and what gets accepted. I have had stories rejected by smaller markets that ended up published in larger markets.

But yesterday I set a new personal record for rejection. I had five in one day. Three of them were very nice personal rejections, that pointed out specifics, one apologized for taking so long but said there were three stories they were deciding between and they only had room for one. But it was still a little discouraging. All in all I think I took it pretty well, I sat down and pounded out 3000+ words in Blood Plague War.

I think that is the key to handling rejection, at least for me. Last night I decided that I was going to write a NY Times bestseller (yeah right) and make them wish they published me back when I was a nobody. But I am going to use this as an awkward segway into an article on work...

I also wanted to share THIS ARTICLE by By Rachel Farrell, posted on MSN CareerBuilder.

It is called four jobs everyone should have to teach them about work “ethic and life” I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had done all of them before I graduated college. And I really had to agree with the article’s assessment.

The jobs are:

  1. Server to learn empathy
  2. Retail Clerk to learn patience and respect
  3. Customer Service(specifically a call center) to teach you kindness and make you think about the way you treat people.
  4. Manual Labor to teach you work a good work ethic.

I worked as both a bartender and a waiter so I can scratch number one off. I worked at a convenience store so there is number two, though I should mention that working the graveyard shift for three months before moving to days gave me a much different outlook than my coworkers. I worked as a telemarketer for a very brief time(about a month) and I am currently a librarian so I can cross number three off. And finally my summer job my junior year of high school was roofing houses.

The jobs did teach me a couple of things not mentioned in the article. First, working graveyard shift and as a bartender I was around a lot of very drunk people. After convincing a shit faced linebacker from the college football team that he could not buy bear at five in the morning, I can say that I have never been flustered by any upset customers at any other job. No matter how upset someone is about their fines at the library they just don’t hold a candle to the six foot five inch, two hundred and fifty pound plus drunken monster. And I can happily say that my summer of manual labor is what made me want to go to college, I wanted a job where I could sit on my butt at least ½ the time, which is one of the many reasons a career as a writer is so enticing. I mean I would get to sit on my butt 100% of the time, who can beat that?


  1. Alva,
    Ahhh, so sorry about the rejections...all of them. And you're right--one day NY will say,"hey, didn't he submit to us one time?" Their loss.

    The jobs you have had and have are definitely character builders! See? that's why you're so rounded with dealing with people. :)

    Ever thought of self-pubbing your shorts on Kindle?? (yes, I really did suggest that to a publisher!! lol)


  2. Years of getting rejections can give you a thick skin, but I don't think it's something that's ever pleasant. Sometimes, they just roll off your back, but then there'll be one that for whatever reason stings like you just got acid spit in your face. It's the main hazard of a writer's life.