I sent out a batch of short stories a month or so ago and got my first rejection yesterday. There it was, waiting for me on the kitchen counter, my self-addressed-stamped envelope without a return address and, inside, the little slip, the shorn page 1 from my story, the no.

It felt… like absolutely nothing, to be honest. Like a little blip and then gone. I can’t even remember what publication it was from.

It didn’t make me feel down and out and in need of chocolate and/or glossy-magazine therapy. It made me want to finish more stories, actually. It made me want to keep going. It made me shrug and ask myself: So what’s next?

That particular story could get rejected by all the places I sent it to, or it could find the one reader who likes it, the one magazine willing to give it a chance, and make my whole entire year. (No pressure, slush readers.) I won’t dwell on that particular story’s options. Yesterday I was rejected and I don’t care!

I think this is why you—and by you, I mean me—must make an attempt to write every day, to keep moving, to not look backward, because even one step down, one little word on the page, is one inch closer to where you—and again by you, I sure do mean me—want to be.

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