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Encouraging Rejections

As many of you know, I am a writer. I write many different things that fall into a wide variety of genres and sub-genres. I write a lot of nonfiction, literary fiction, mysteries, and ghost stories. However, my main genre is romance.

I’ve been a true romantic my entire life. I remember asking my big city aunt, who was devoted to the single life, when she was planning to get married and start a family. I think I was around four years old when I asked that question. She was a good sport and simply told me she didn’t know. She never did. That wasn’t what she wanted in life.

When I played with Barbies as a child, they had elaborate story lines that involved great romance. My dolls had important careers like being pilots, teachers, ranchers, or movie stars. In my young mind, love was around every corner.

I love writing funny love stories. When I can make someone laugh out loud at my action and then sigh at my happy ending, I know I’ve done something right. I often use animals in my stories to make the story lines funny or poignant. Sometimes they’re normal animals, and sometimes they’re people who can turn into animals.

So, what do I do with all of these stories? I send them to contests and journals to see if I can win some money and/or get them published. Part of that process is receiving rejections. It may seem harsh, but most writers receive far more rejections than acceptances. I learned long ago that there’s always a better story out there.

Not all rejections are created equal. Some are terse and to the point, while others are downright encouraging. I received one of those rejections today. I was so touched by the editor’s kind words that I’m sharing the email with you.

I’ve redacted the publisher’s identifying information, but I will be submitting work to them again in the future. I may even submit this same story. It certainly seems like they are encouraging me to do so.

The story features four donkeys and a Chihuahua, in case you’re wondering how it fits with the animal theme. I believe this is one of the best stories I’ve ever written, and I’m determined to see it published. It has already won several awards.

Dear Margarite:

Thank you for submitting your story, “Runaway Asses,” for the 2019 Short Story Award competition . . . The judging is now complete. Your story was among the semi-finalists in the competition, but I regret to inform you that it did not make it to the final round of judging.

We believe your writing is very strong. This was our largest contest ever and we found it very difficult to narrow the field from a large number of excellent stories to a few finalists. We strongly encourage you to submit to us again in the future. Our 2020 Short Story Award will also have a theme of Animal Stories. It will open on January 1, 2020, so you have time to polish your story further if you would like to submit it again. All contestants are permitted to submit the same story a maximum of two times.

In addition, we would welcome your submissions to . . . our quarterly online literary journal. It is a paying market and we are always looking for high-quality work. A link to that website appears below.

You have our congratulations on making it to the semi-finals and our best wishes for your writing career.

Now isn’t that the sweetest rejection you’ve ever read? The editor took the time to encourage me, which is a rare treat. I treasure correspondence like this.

I encourage you to reach for your dreams. Losing hope is far too easy. If I gave up after my first rejection, I wouldn’t have dozens of awards on my wall and 13 publications under my belt with more to come soon.

Carpe diem, my friends! Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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