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?