Well I got my first rejection letter. That manuscript I submitted to The Paris Review in January I think. They used the self-addressed stamped envelope I sent but did not send back my manuscript. I wish they would have sent the manuscript back as well because I'm unsure which one I submitted to them. A lady I work with said they probably intend to publish it without giving me credit, but that would be a pretty stupid thing to do. Even if I do not remember which one I submitted, I know my own work when I see it. Maybe they lost the manuscript.
Anyway, at least I know they're not going to publish it. Next time I submit something, I'm going to keep a copy of it in a file with the name of the magazine I submitted it to, and the date. This will help me keep track of where I have sent everything, especially if they're not going to be sending back my manuscripts.
I broke my resolution last month and did not submit anything (not even a query) for the month of April. I did have a lot of school work to do that month, though. I think, now that school is over for the semester, I will try to write two articles a month instead of one. I will spend the first week researching, including reading the magazine I plan on submitting to. Then I will spend the second week writing and submit it by the end of the week.
If I can keep this resolution, I can have six manuscripts submitted before the summer is over. Now that I am published, I intend to start a portfolio. Maybe I will start submitting works to lesser known and low-pay magazines to get the ball rolling. I have already ordered three magazines to begin my research for this month.
I wish contests sent you rejection letters as well. I should know about that Austin Chronical contest before the end of this next week, they're supposed to notify finalists by the 15th, so if I'm even in the running I'll be getting something soon. If I don't, I can just assume it wasn't as good as the other stories and mark that manuscript rejected.
Someone asked me at work if being rejected for publication hurt worse than being rejected by a romantic interest. I'd have to say, it does and it doesn't. I think there's almost the expectation of rejection when you send your work to be published. It's kind of like if you were trying to pick up someone at a bar and they rejected you. It hurts less in that aspect because it's not as much of a surprise. Since writing is my passion and I want to be the very best I can be at it, it is very discouraging to get a rejection letter which basically says I am not good enough (in the eyes of the editor). I know every author has his or her share of rejection, even the ones who made a successful career out of it. Knowing this numbs the pain a little, so that makes it hurt less. Just like telling oneself that the person who rejected one is just not the right person and that someone better will come along. All I can do is keep trying and try harder to do better, so that's what I'll do.