Rip, Shit and Bust: dealing with post-rejection stress disorder

I wanted to talk about resilience and why I don’t have it.  I thought I did, but I think it dropped out of my bag while I was at the beach and now I just can’t find it.  This month has been a big fat rejection.  I have had two pieces of writing rejected for completely different audiences. Original ones, that were submitted with the idea that they would be published somewhere vaguely important.  The worst part of the whole thing is that game you’ve been playing.  You know the one.  You see them, they see you.  A little small talk, a little flirting and you think you might have something.  You give them your number, you wait… wait some more… consider calling them just in case they lost your number ……then BAM! Rejection!!

Of course, they give you a nice note, explaining that you are just incompatible at this time.  It’s not you it’s them….yada, yada, yada…. I know, I know…I’ve heard the stories… everyone gets rejected… sometimes lots and lots, before they have writing success.  I get it, I really do! – in theory.  I can spout it as good advice to others, write songs about it…but when it happens to me (and, let’s face it,  it has happened a lot) I just want to crawl into my little hole and never come out.  My brain over analyses – why don’t they like me? what possessed me to think I could do this? what is that sticking into my ass? shit, it’s dark in here! and wet! why am I wet? oh, god, is that a snake?

I have become like Taylor Swift – a serial monogamist. This month I am totally faithful to writing book reviews….fanfic….blog posts….research….shit, I don’t know.

One of my writing issues seems to be having a single good idea and sticking to it.  Being an intellectual and creative magpie with  ADHD tendencies, I can’t decide what it is that I am trying to say (or be).  To quote the Von Trap children, “I flit, I flee, I fly” – from idea to idea, art form to art form, audience to audience. Great fun, a wild ride, life and soul of the party but totally useless when it comes to nailing your reputation to a particular brand.  Let’s not even get into the schizophrenia of living under a pseudonym – yes I said, living not writing cos I swear if Dr J walked down the street and someone yelled ‘Sasha’, she would turn around and look.

Here’s Johnny!!

Another problem I have, is that I am a hack.  I don’t revise enough.  Carefully crafted sentences are not my thing – any more than grammar and punctuation.  I’m a typing speed freak, fingers dancing all over the keyboard as fast as I can go without the requisite care for spelling or omitted words.  See, I am doing it now.  Look, there I go again…I convince myself that what I have written in that first draft is brilliant.  Then I do a couple of reads, a tweak here and there, which usually means adding more shit, without too much thought for repeated words and phrases.  This wildly inaccurate work then gets submitted for publication and I am stunned when I get those rejections only to find when I read over my submission that the two-timing assholes the reviewers/editors were right. It was crap!

I know – you are asking how hard can it be? There are whole sectors of the literary universe who believe that romance writing and fan fiction is crap anyway, so why does it matter? I have a theory that the level of crap generated from the romance industry and fanfic combined is nothing compared to that of academia but that is a whole other discussion (and possible area for research).  But this isn’t a post about sour grapes over those who do or don’t get published, followed or positively reviewed.  It is about pushing through your own doubts in the face of rejection.

I’ve decided to be proactive and I am taking a two-pronged approach to my issues (cos two prongs have got to better than one right?). If I am going to seriously woo – a reading audience, publishers, reviewers – then I  might need to put on a pretty dress, slap on some lipstick, put a bow in my hair and strut my stuff.  So I have solicited for a Beta or two. Recently I placed this ad.

Help – Beta Wanted

I’m a nice person, almost normal, I say fuck a lot and have been known to have a passion for Lovely Stellz naughty pictures. Now that I have that out of the way, I need a Beta. Someone who could learn to love me, will support me, understands my kinky needs and will help me to be a better (Beta) version of myself.

I suck at punctuation and grammar but I try, I really do. Now my plot points have me tied in knots and while that might sound kinky, I think it might be chafing. I don’t have a huge following but they are pretty loyal so if anyone here is reading my work and thinks they can help or if you are a writer and want to swap recipes – Beta for Beta – please PM me.

It’s me not you

I got a couple of hits, a few pokes.  Went on a couple of dates.  I’d like to say it just didn’t work out but I think I’m the one with commitment issues.  At first I was Beta-whoring – getting into bed with anyone who offered.  It was fun but ultimately shallow and unrewarding. There is this one who is kind of special, and if I can just stop cutting and running, I think there may be something there. I’m hopeful for something … more… but….


It might be solid, thick, pulsatingly red but why the hurry?

If it doesn’t work out, I have a back up plan although he will probably chastise me for calling him that.  Jason (jasonwrites) has offered to come on over and edit me.  Well, I issued a flirty little challenge and he muttered a non-committal ‘sure’ but that is as good as a proposal and a ring, isn’t it? He is a poet and a teacher which makes him kind of…intimidating. I think he might be fairly strict on making corrections, following the rules of punctuation and ensuring I submit to his dictates. There could be some heavy punishment for grammatical errors. He says he has a lovely big red pen and ruler that makes a nice thwacking sound but he might just be boasting.

Rejection Letter and Negative Review Repository


The other part of my plan is to build my resilience to PRSD. At first I considered drugs but then I thought a whole survival kit might actually be in order.  I’m thinking chocolate, alcohol, tissues and a purpose-built dart board for pinning those pesky rejection letters to. I may need your help…suggestions….innuendo…

What would you include?

16 thoughts on “Rip, Shit and Bust: dealing with post-rejection stress disorder

  1. […] Rip, Shit and Bust: dealing with post-rejection stress disorder ( […]


  2. rheath40 says:

    Thank you for the ping back honey. I’m so glad you found me. I think we’re going to be fast friends. Kisses and hugs!!!


  3. This piece is very humorous ! Great read.
    Thank you for adding my article.


  4. Atterbury ( Liz) says:

    O.K. Ms. Sasha, I have pondered this post, re-read it tossed it around in my peon brain … Excuse my naïveté but this hurts my heart and makes me mad. Not at you, I want to scream and shout to whomever, I have merely read thousands of your words and loved every one of them. I noticed your plea for a Beta and was not sure if it was in humor or not because of what I have seen on and off the FF site.There are many that seriously could use a Beta, not you in my opinion . As I have said before the first time I read you I knew you were the exception to this site an elite writer with vision beyond with a sense of humor not easily found in the arena you were writing in. Everyone needs help and guidance thru any worthwhile endeavor, I hope yours will help you become the best that you can be so the world will have the opportunity to experience you!
    I have always felt bad that you have not gotten your just do because you chose a creative approach to FSOG not writing directly about the main characters, but that has been one of my reasons to love your work. Sasha, please keep writing keep sending your works to people that can help you thrive. There are many that have been discovered when they least expected it. I will pray, scream, picket,demonstrate and join your campaign! Sorry I won’t sell myself for you, even I have limits…oh, boy I did it again, sorry I didn’t mean to get so noisy. We live at opposite sides of the world, never met, no one has put me up to anything but thru your words and writings I feel a true connection and kinship with you. Please don’t let those assholes get you down! Sorry, again. My two cents,XX, L


    • Wow – Liz. I am a little bit scared of you right now on behalf of reviewers and publishers everywhere. 🙂 I have to say it made my day to read this and it is because of friends like you that I will continue to do what I am doing. The beautiful thing about this environment is that I can reach out with my words and know that they make someone else happy.

      There is more rejection in the publishing world than I have ever been subjected to in my lifetime, so I am choosing to use this blog to help me to both process and toughen up. It is cathartic to make fun of myself and the process – writing is it’s own form of therapy. I no longer think of rejection as coming from assholes but more a case of wrong fit. It doesn’t stop me from putting myself in their shoes and picking the scabs of my own work until it bleeds but that is probably a good sign.

      As to selling yourself – well, I think that should still be up for discussion, don’t you? 😉

      Thanks again for your support and virtual love. Sasha xoxo


  5. Monique Lain says:

    Ah mate, I liked the post even though I don’t! I feel your pain and I hate seeing talent like you feeling rejected. You do have a gift and almost all artists I know feel little for the details of the craft but rather like to concentrate on the creation of it instead. That’s your strong point, focus on that. Do what you’re best at then trust some grammar Nazi to sort your shit to a standard that’s acceptable for the bigwigs. It’s a solid plan! (cue narrowing eyes, pointy finger) DON’T let it get to you!


  6. 1klkelly says:

    How dare they reject you! I love your writing! Don’t let them get you down! The above ^ made me LOL (with you). 🙂


  7. Maxime Noyes says:

    Wow…. You’re a doctor? Totes impressed! Actually doesn’t surprise me… I have no fucking idea what a Beta is- fish, dog, old fashioned video tape player? Sally from 3rd Rock from the Sun? Sweetheart, and as I have never met you… I feel completely comfortable calling you sweetheart…. so maybe take anything I say with a grain of salt or a lump of sugar depending on whether or not you like it…. I think you are very special! Actually I think you are a polymath! Nevermind those mensa people…

    It looks like you may have written this article about rejection in March of 2013, and I have no idea how or why, but I am finding it now the day after American Thanksgiving ( when we stole an entire country from an indigenous population… we are a naughty lot!) so rejection… it is not your fault that you are evolutionarily way further up the scale then the scum that lives at the bottom of Janet Oriole shoes… (LOL! janitorial! but now I would love to see a character by that name in a story! 😉 ) It is not easy being a polymath. Just ask Sir Francis Bacon… For Shakespeare, well now boy howdy there you go on pseudonyms right??? William Shakespeare, my foot! He most certainly did not right what was attributed to him… or…write… what was attributed to him! And if you ever get a chance to look at his first folio, you will find that he did not give one single round shit about grammar or spelling. 😉 Now… I like to use triple periods and exclamation marks like wild bird food being sprinkled over people at a wedding… can’t use rice anymore, it kills Birds just so you know… People who write rejection letters, write rejection letters… because they can’t write!!! Maybe one or two out of five million can write… but that’s it. The rest of them are flea infested champagne barrels! So if I came across this article because you are feeling bad in the current day in age of November 2013… screw em sweetheart! You have more talent in your tiny toe than they will have in 10 reincarnations! I am assuming that you have at least one tiny toe. If you were a double amputee please pick another body part. No offense is meant to mp3 s of any kind….( Amputees… not mp3 s!)

    Sasha… as a doctor, you should know… you have to kiss a lot of penises before your patients discover that you received your doctorate for years of research in the diet habits of fictional Moondogs.

    You’re brilliant and hilarious and wonderfully adventurous… and your writing is a reflection of your….sexy Phoenix polymath…amatician…ways. Spelling is for dummies! What you do? Is manna from Nirvana for the Soul. You are not rejected!!! You are being saved for the right publisher… the one who knows how fantastic you are! Wait for the one with eyes to see…. You! Gorgeous! Brilliant! Author!

    Maxime (… that’s my pseudonym! 😉 )
    Love your stuff so much! ❤


    • And once more, your comments lift my day and make me laugh. Dr of education (jazz education specifically – you couldn’t get a more useless thesis than that) and not a medical doctor, although kissing penises…mmmmm….yummy!! 😉

      Beta reader – someone who check over my stream of consciousness and tells me a) where to stick my semi-colons (as painful as it sounds) and b) checks my plot holes (is there anybody down there……).

      Rejection, unfortunately, is part of the process of writing, teaching, love, life… I reserve the right/write to right/write about such things here. I think of it as therapy ( are you a doctor, too, cos I like the therapy I am getting from you).

      I am working on my opus – again, sounds painful and is, where I bring elements of everything I have written to date (scraping all those half-started projects from the bottom of my barrel) and reworking them into a series. I need to make some hard decisions about the erotica elements in them since all the big e-book sellers have decided to Indie and Erotica no more pulling anything risqué or unrepresented faster than a teenage boy with a sock boner, a lube-tube and a video of Sasha Grey. Hence, the updates have stalled while I factor full time work, family, academic writing and fiction into my already packed life. (Not forgetting my own personal/professional development and the hours spent building and maintaining a social media profile – oh, how I envy anyone who can claim to be a full time writer!).

      I shall take your character name and give it some serious thought! She sounds like she could be fun to write. And try not to be hard on the writers of rejection letters. Most often it is a question of fit, not talent. Yes, you may call me sweetheart any time. I think we crossed that boundary a few conversations ago. Stalk you! Sasha xxx


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