distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.


I was rejected today.

It was a tough one.

It started as a what-if one, not mattering too much. But then random coincidences began to make me think that it might happen, it just might, otherwise why the signs showing themselves only to me (and decipherable only by me, which is the way of such coincidental signs)?

And in this way I got my hopes up.

My hopes can be very slutty. They get excited about anything. Someone bats an eye in their direction and they go all rubbery and start planning the wedding.

I should have known that the final “sign” in the list of signs was the hopes going up.

From my experience, which is all I really have to go on because in this life as it stands I haven’t been able to try another person’s body/life/hope/dreams to see how that feels, my hopes going up always ends the exact same way.

Utter disappointment.


The good things come when I don’t expect them to come. Case in point: E. I met him when I was too young to know how lucky I was. Another case in point: the things I got were always things I’d stopped hoping for, because I thought I wouldn’t get them.

Hope = utter disappointment.

I need to remember that for next time.

So I was rejected today.

The day was ruined when it happened.

Before rejection: writing freelance project, making good progress.

After rejection: waterworks.

Ugh, what is wrong with me? I can’t help it.

No more writing can be done on a rejection day. The sun stops shining, the rainbows go gray, the birds flop into the sewers, the chocolate is stale, you get the idea.

I am in recovery now.

So I have to add a space between every thought.

Because I feel like that.

Broken up.

With space in between.

Can you see what a big deal I am making of this? When really it changes nothing? Because I am almost done with all this hack-work and I can start a new novel and maybe the new novel will be “the one” like E was the one and in the moment I first saw him I was too young to know it?

I look back on meeting E and I have such wisdom.

Will I have wisdom about this someday?

Will it make sense?

The No. And the No. And the Maybe, Oh never mind No. And the NO NO NO. And the NEVER. And the you’re-so-very-talented-but-I-don’t-care-enough-to-help-you No so it sounds empty like all the other Nos?

Will they make sense someday, maybe?

I want to settle down.

I want to know that I am doing this for a reason.

Because that’s what I feel.

But I also felt a yes and I was wrong, so my feelings can’t be trusted.

There’s nothing else I want to do.

Have a career? No. Start a family? No. Teach English in Thailand? Sounds cool but no. Join the circus? No. Be a rock star? No. Be a good person? Obviously I’m too selfish. Do a crossword puzzle. No, I don’t even like doing that!

I am so one-note.

If only I didn’t give up photography after college. Maybe then I’d have another art outlet for the times when I am stomped on as a writer.

I could learn to surf… No, I’m a klutz, and I can’t really swim. Plus I burn in the sun. I could, oh, give up and be a regular person. Sounds fun. Is this the sign that says it’s time to do that?

Stop it.

Fact is

there were no signs

there was nothing


just my own head

making things up

as per usual.

Tomorrow is another day. I will not be rejected tomorrow. I will not. I will not. I will not. (And if I am, E, you have permission to hide this one.)

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10 responses to “Smack-Down”

  1. I think we are somewhat in-synch, re: rejection because I just had one last week and it was really tough because all of my hope ate up my zen and I was SO sure it was the one and… yeah. It’s amazing how paralysing and devastating certain rejections can be. I completely understand what you’re going through and I feel bad because the only thing I can do is nod and say I know how much it sucks. It’s so hard to know exactly what you want to do and have the actual doing it be so dependant on the way other people receive you. But don’t give up because you WILL have it and time will put this rejection behind you and perseverence will ultimately lead to the pay off. To bastardize a quote I read a long time ago, rejection is delay but not defeat! So hang in there.

  2. Here’s another quote that I just read: “Successful people fail their way to the top.” But I don’t think you’re failing. If you are writing day by day, you are succeeding. This is what to do: write. Just write.

  3. Dear Writer,
    I am pleased to inform you your piece “Smack-Down” gave us all immense pleasure. We would be delighted to publish it on the page above, and look forward to your future submissions as well. Thank you for thinking of us, and congratulations on a well-crafted piece of work.
    Best regards,
    –The Editors

  4. Hard as it is, I can tell you’re going to keep right on going. You’ve got that great new novel in you, and you’re almost to the point where you can write it. And write it you will. And it will be wonderful.

  5. It hurt to read that, so I guess it must have really, really hurt to write it. I know you’ll keep going, because it seems that writing is who you are, as well as what you do. Good luck; we’re behind you.

  6. Thank you, everyone (and an acceptance letter in the comments to boot!). There wasn’t another rejection in the mail today… at least that I know about.


  7. Hopes are a funny thing. It hurts bad when they betray us, but they are also necissary. I know someone who gave up on hope. It’s not a life you want to live.

  8. Nova,
    As a creative type, you MUST feel deeply. That is a part of what makes you different from those who are not writers. The bummer is that, because you feel deeply, the joys will be sky high, and the darkness, so very, very dark. If you didn’t feel, you couldn’t move your audience. Like you did here. Everyone could feel that pain, frustration.

    The fact that this is all you want to do is a great thing. Accept it and write.

    And, please, don’t give up on hope.

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