I've been sailing on a stream of luck the past several months. Most of the pieces I've submitted for publication have ended up being accepted somewhere. Generally, I send something out to several places and the really fast markets get back to me with a sound rejection early on. I've tried the whole "analyze the rejection" thing, but I find that most of them don't tell you anything, especially the form rejections that are clearly templates where the journal/magazine don't even have the decency to address you by name.
There have been the occasional personal rejection. Those I do analyze, almost obsessively. I read them over and over and over again, finding some happiness in the fact that they at least liked the story enough to personalize a message to me.
Its a strange thing submitting to journals. It feels as if I am the unpopular girl in high school trying to get the attention of the football star or the sexy cheerleader. I want them to notice me, to want me back. And just the hint of a smile across the cafeteria, I instantly turn to mush and start writing my name using their last name with hearts and a purple marker. I hate this feeling. It's a one way relationship where I have no control, and I am very much a control freak. Waiting to be noticed, hoping someone will like me, makes me feel impotent and silly. But, just like a lonely high school girl, I would rather feel that modicum of hope garnered from the personal rejection, than feel nothing at all.
So, I get rejected and then lo' and behold the next email is an acceptance! Woo Hoo! Hallelujah! This has been the pattern of my submissions so far this year. Regardless of the fact that has been the pattern, it doesn't mean it will always be this way. Just over the past few days, I've received one acceptance and two rejections for different pieces. Who is to say that those two rejections will ever turn into an acceptance? I don't know. And the not knowing is what kills me.
But, my husband says I am a junkie for this kind of stuff. He says, "you love it." That I love the emotional roller coaster. He should know, he's in academia -- rejection is his third arm. He could be right. Maybe I do love it.
In the spirit of accountability, here are my stats so far:
Withdrawals/Never Responded: 30