Another “100 Rejections” Post


January 29, 2019.

I have a new short story that I feel like has got some legs, despite it receiving its third rejection today. It’s a story with a sci-fi twist so I’m trying sci-fi mags first, but have a feeling it’s not really sci-fi enough. The sci-fi doesn’t become apparent ’til near the end, whereas all the sample story excerpts on the magazine websites seem to start out with people floating around in space-pods. I have been gratified by how fast the genre magazines turn around though. I started submitting at the beginning of January, and although none of them accept simultaneous submissions, they have all responded within a week. By comparison, in the same batch of morning emails, I also got a rejection for a different story that I submitted to a literary journal back in August, which for overwhelmed, underpaid lit journals is about standard.

I’ve just decided, after seeing a few articles on the topic of “100 rejections per year” like this one and this one, that I, too, will aim for 100 rejections this year. I generally have in mind that rejections reflect attempts, and thus it’s good to collect a few, but 100 is a nice round number, and I will need to up my  game to achieve it. The end of January is almost upon us, and I am only four rejections in. I need an average of nine per month to hit 100. Because of the afore-mentioned long turn-around times, I am disadvantaged by my low submission numbers in the last half of last year, and for the same reason, anything I submit after summer of this year might not get rejected until next year!

I also need to change up the types of things I get rejected for. Last year, I invested a lot of time in submissions for screenwriting fellowships and labs. These often have high entry fees. I wish I could say it is the last vestiges of self-respect, but it’s probably just my extreme lack of funds that require me to take those out of the mix this year. No $100 Humanitas Prize entry for me. No $45-$65 dollar lab submissions or $45-$95 screenwriting contests. (I’m glad that my contributions over the last decade have helped all the worthy programs who sponsor these opportunities, and am sure my deficit will be covered by plenty of new aspirants.) A friend recently offered to show me how to look for article work — so that might be an option for rejection collection!

I also need to set some parameters. Like if I pitch a show and they pass… can that count? I think yes, because of the preparation involved, and the fact that I can write the company names and project names on my tracking chart. But things like requests for fee-waivers do not count–even though I can chart them and they still pack some dream-denying emotional punch, they are not actually rejecting my ideas or work or presentation of self.

2019. Bring. It. On.


When is a Weekend Not a Weekend?

Only a few days ago, the weekend was looking weekend-y.  To be sure, a meeting with my writing partner and some writing–we have a March 30 deadline to get our script to readers–but also a possible hike, a Skype date with friends, a yoga class or two were on the docket.  Then, on Wednesday, HBO made an announcement. They are launching a new writing fellowship…and the deadline was less than a week away, on March 4.  Hmmm.  Time to add to my list one of those dreaded 500 word essays about how my background influences my storytelling.

Then an email landed in my inbox.  On a whim, back in February, I submitted a couple of scripts to the Script Pipeline contest.  The deal was, you could do the super-early deadline for a cheaper entry fee, but then submit revisions by the regular deadline for no extra charge.  Both of my scripts were out for notes at the time, so I planned to do revisions. I’ve been working on revisions, and am about halfway on each script. With a deadline of March 15, as of yesterday, I was in trouble, but not big trouble.

Except that, as the email reminded me, the deadline is not March 15, but March 1.  Now I’m in trouble. In fact, I’d say being really ready is nigh impossible… but I guess I’m obligated to get as close as I can.  The Skype date is off, the meeting with my partner is moved, yoga is off the schedule (though I will do some awesome Classical Stretch videos), and I will be burrowing in until Sunday evening.

At least the forecast is for cold (that’s California cold, i.e. 60 degrees) and wet, so I have an excuse to write in bed.