I know it’s hard to believe, but when I first started writing, and submitting my writing to editors and publishers, the intranets was just a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye. It was a lengthy and arduous process. Not the writing, I loved the writing. It came quickly, and easily. Long nights fueled by inspiration and youth. The mailing of the writing and waiting part of the writing was a long process, though. Costly to an extent too – snail mail being what it is and all, but it was the long delay that gnawed at me late at night. It was the constant waiting and wondering. Would this be the piece? Would this be the editor? These were the thoughts that crawled like carpenter ants along the inside of my skull.
I kept every rejection letter I ever received. I tacked them to the wall over my desk and computer. They equally mocked and inspired me from their place of dubious honor just above my monitor, just within view when writing. When not focusing on the monitor and my words, my eyes would drift to the letters and they would taunt me to write more, better. Goad me into writing something worth publishing. I wrote my first novel beneath them. Later on, after my wife convinced me to take them down and go in a different decorating direction, they mocked me through my mind’s eye to write The Kindling of GreenFyr.
And then came the interweb and rejection is now that much faster. You receive your responses almost within minutes of sending out a query in some cases. Rejection has never been so efficient.
I’m feeling those ants inside my skull again as I wait to hear from festivals about our short film, The Dragon Wall. The process now is similar to those early days of sending out my short stories and manuscripts. Submit our film and wait several months to hear if we’ve made the cut. It’s easier, if not any cheaper, than snail mailing my stories. There’s a wonderful website, withoutabox.com, for submitting to festivals, that makes it a one stop shopping of sorts. It also keeps all of your submissions’ status a keystroke away, allowing me to gaze up at my wall once more, waiting to see if we’ve made it or not. We should start hearing any day now and over the course of the summer, but that knowledge does not assuage the ants in my skull. They keep crawling, slipping in and out of the sulci of my brain.
In the end, though, the result has been the same. That website has become my new wall, lingering just out of reach, watching me, prompting me to write more, better. I’m not sure it’ll become the rejection wall of my early writing years. I’m hoping not, but either way, it’s pushing me now, which I guess, in a way, is all ready a win.