I really envy some writers. Not for their talent with words. Not for their knack at coming up with great, fresh ideas for a story. Not for their ability to make me laugh, cry or think about something in a way I’ve never done before. For all those things, whether published or not, it’s not about that, that I view them the way I do.
I envy their rejections. I look at them like seasoned subject matter experts on dealing with big letdowns. Time and time again. The ones who know how hard it is to wait. But, wait they do. The ones whose hopes fly as high as if their fiftieth, or one hundredth query was their very first. The ones who realize the odds and keep going. The one’s who’ve been at it for years, whose feelings are sheathed with a bit of cynicism, but not so much as to make them act like jackasses. They continue to live on hope, just like a brand new writer.
They cloak any insecurities with a new layer of creativity. A fresh coat of paint can change the look of a room, over and over, can’t it? Sure, they are still the same writer, only they’ve adapted. They’ve learned that maybe that hot pink room would be more suited to a subtle shade of blue. Or green. Their experience has taught them how to perhaps even stick to their choice, except maybe they add an accent wall of a paler color. Their buckets of paint seem bottomless.
Why would I envy this when it sounds like no matter what paint color one chooses, it’s always out of style? When it would appear there is a secret pallet of colors only some get to see? Who wants to go through that? Many of us it seems, but for those who’ve been at it for a while, they’ve somehow learned to try and keep finding the right blend, even if they’ve been told they’re color blind.
I call them The Rejectionists, although the actual definition in the Oxford dictionary doesn’t suit what I mean – not one iota. It says, in part, “a person who rejects a proposed policy…,” but goes on to a further political view, which I will leave off here. I think it’s clear what I mean by some of what I’ve said above. A Rejectionist, to me, is someone who refuses to give up just because they’ve received polite refusals, with maybe a line of two of encouragement, or all those “no thanks, not for me,” or silence, time and time again.
I envy this because they’ve already been where I’ve yet to go. Coped with it. Dealt with it. Built up stamina, honed a rock hard ability to stomach it. It’s not to say I can’t do the same. I know I’m stubborn (marathon training isn’t for the weak) It’s more about that experience I think. The mindset, and wherewithal to know it can get even rougher than where I’ve already been. Not counting the years of off and on writing, I’ve been working towards actual publication for about three years now.
Maybe that, in of itself, makes me one. I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve felt the burn of it long enough. Not like others. Not the ones I’m thinking of, have come to know, or the ones I’ve only read about. They are the true examples of what it means to work for art, or as it goes in this writing world, “art harder.” That they do.
Would you call yourself a Rejectionist?