I keep a spreadsheet of the stories and articles I have sent out so I can keep track of where everything is. Most of them I am still waiting to hear back from. I try to forget the work I’ve already sent out and focus on the new things I’m working on. But occasionally, I open up my spreadsheet and give a little sigh. Whether the reply is good news or bad news, it’s the waiting that’s the hardest part.
The very first thing I sent away when I decided to begin this marvelous and slightly frustrating adventure was actually a script for a short comic story. I love comics and I have a dream to create my own one day so I thought I’d see how I would do by dipping my not-so-delicate little toes into the comic pool.
2000AD was my target – they accept unsolicited manuscripts from newbies in the form of Future Shock scripts, short 4-5 page long stories. I had been hit with an idea (smack bang wallop! Right between the eyes) and knew it would be the best comic ever and everyone would love it.
So I researched how to write a comic book script and made sure it was all formatted correctly. I went through every word, perfecting and polishing until it gleamed with potential. Then I sent my world-changing creation off . . .
The 2000AD forums are littered with horror stories of people who have waited a year to hear back from the editors and only received their returned script with a post-it note with “no” scribbled on it. As much as I had faith in my idea, I wasn’t completely deluded. I forgot about it and went on with my life.
It was less than six weeks later when I got my reply. It was a rejection of course but it was typed and it had actual feedback. They’d read my story and written back to me. I was delighted! My boyfriend couldn’t understand why I was so happy to get a rejection and I tried to explain that now I know what I did wrong and can work on it.
The script has since morphed into a short story and been entered into a contest (which it didn’t win) and is now sitting in an editors inbox waiting patiently to be read. If it is rejected again, I will probably put it in the “to be reconsidered” pile and move on. I can always use elements from it in something else. Recycling is good!
I’m ridiculously optimistic when it comes to my creative outlets, much more so than in other areas of my life. I’m realistic, I know my limitations, but I also know that you need to keep trying. Getting a rejection isn’t a bad thing. In fact it’s probably better for you. It keeps your ego in check and makes you think about what you’ve done wrong. Getting a rejection with feedback is even better.
I would advise everyone to be rejected at least once. You’ll appreciate what you have a lot more.