2016 is going to be a painful year, and not just because I plan to squeeze a giant baby out of my delicate lady parts sometime around Valentine’s Day. The pain of giving birth is supposed to be, like, “difficult” and stuff, but I have something potentially more excruciating planned for my new year. I am making 2016 into my “Ultimate Year of Rejection.”
I’m a writer. I’ve actually made a living doing it for a few of the greatest years of my life, but it’s not exactly an easy life to sustain. Over the past few years, most of my writing has been unpaid, for spec projects that I hope will one day become things people actually read or see on TV. I’ve got a novel (it’s dark but funny), two pilots (dark, but funny), a handful of articles (yup…dark/funny…OK one of them is JUST dark), and a massive clusterfuck of pitches and proposals that swirl around my brain with the furious intensity of a drunken Tasmanian Devil.
And this is the year every single one of them gets rejected by the whole world.
I can be a pretty negative person, but not this year. This year I’m actually seeking out the thing that has crushed my fragile little artsy soul for so many years of my life: rejection. Fear of rejection has had me cowering like an ill-treated pound puppy for most of my life.
I run from it. I lament it. I wail and tantrum over my lack of success and tell myself every “no” is a confirmation that I am a talentless nobody who should give up and leave the art to the people who actually have something worth saying. But this year is going to be different. This year I will find success in my failure because I’m going to fearlessly seek it out.
I am setting a goal to acquire 50 official rejection letters for my writing this year—articles, scripts, pitches, proposals, agent queries, publishing house pleas and contest courtships.
It’s not going to be as easy as it sounds. You might think that I could just find 50 places to submit my work and just wait for the negativity to roll on in, but I’ve learned something profoundly sad over the past few years. Rejection letters aren’t always so easy to come by. Most places I’ve sought to place my work don’t even have the common courtesy to tell me to go fuck myself. They just ignore what I’ve sent them and never respond at all. So, to get 50 real rejection letters I estimate I’ll have to send out my work to at least 100 places—probably a lot more.
Now, instead of dreading checking my email inbox to find out if my hopes of writing superstardom have once again been dashed for the umpteenth time, I can eagerly await the joyful resounding “No’s” of national magazines, novel agents, network fellowships and literary agents and collect them all in a pretty little binder that I can flip through whenever I need to feel a sense of accomplishment.
It’s going to be a great year.
Oh, and I’m going to have a baby.