Seventy-Three Rejections Later

When you start a story or a novel or a script, you begin with a sense of hope. You hope that your story will touch hearts and minds. You hope you told the story in a graceful fashion. You hope people will read it, at the very least. And sometimes, you know you wrote a good story.

“She Left Behind” is a story I wrote years ago. It’s probably the first story I wrote where I told myself, “This is pretty good.” I said what I wanted to say. I created scenes. I developed characters. I was sure it was going to go somewhere.

So, I submitted to various literary magazines—starting with the top tiers. One of my first rejection letters was from The Atlantic, where the editor, C. Michael Curtis, compared it to Tim O’Brien and said that, while he wouldn’t be publishing it, he was sure it’d be snatched up soon and to keep going. Encouraged, I kept going.

And going.

And going.

And going.

I received so many positive rejections. A lot of “you made it to the almost round” kind of notes. Delightful personal emails from editors. Detailed reasonings behind their decisions. Basically, a lot of editors took time they didn’t have to take to give me support and tell me to press on.

And press on.

And press on.

And press on.

You probably see where I’m going with this, yeah?

I’ve pressed on for years with this story. There are now seventy-three rejections to its name.



7. 3.

Look, I know the advice is to just keep going. But, quite frankly, I’m crying uncle. I don’t think I can handle one more close-but-not-quite rejection letter on this one.
“She Left Behind” is a good story.

So you’ll find the story on my Writing page: here.

I hope you read it. I hope you enjoy it.






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