On the “almost” acceptance

Rejection is no stranger to the writer; it’s part of the package deal. I’ve learned to not take it too harshly. It’s usually a polite “wasn’t right for our magazine, but thanks for letting us read” sort of sentiment. No hard feelings.

Then there’s this grey area of rejection – the letter that sort of goes like, “you were almost selected, send us more!” Silver medal, congrats! It’s a bittersweet place to be stuck in. Anyway, this whole feeling came about after receiving this letter from NanoFiction yesterday: “After much consideration we decided to pass on the submission; however, your work came really close and we’d love to see more as soon as you have some to send us. We look forward to reading you again!”

After much consideration. You came really close. It’s these vague adjectives that are meant to soften the blow and keep them as still “the nice guys.” I feel like a contestant on a reality competition show that gets sent home, but is told encouragingly , “Don’t stop! Follow your dream! You’ll be successful one day! That day is just not today!” Should I feel patronized, or encouraged? If I do send them more and get rejected again, can I live through that level of embarrassment? “Thanks for putting yourself on the line again, but you’re still not right! But keep trying!”

The encouraging rejection: the paradoxical writer’s curse.


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