Monday, January 14, 2013

The Double Dog Dare Factor of Rejection

No matter how long you've written or how much you've published––unless you're Steve King, Toni Morrison, or Richard Russo––rejection is as much a part of the writing process as revision.

If you've been keeping up with this blog over the past year, you'll know that I started interviewing 16-year-old ski racer Sam Morse back in March of 2012. Sam has been keeping ski racing journals for about 9 years, and the article I wrote about him, "Writing Toward Podium Gold: One Athlete's Journals," just got rejected by the editors of a sports research journal.

These days, not much gets my energy flowing like rejection; it's like a task challenge or what we used to call a double dog dare. The editors said the article "didn't quite fit." I knew that when I submitted it, but I like to push boundaries. Most of the articles in their journal are quantitative research pieces; mine's a story, or what we call qualitative research. Last year, I broke into a quantitative journal with a story... man, I loved that feeling.

I have two other journals in mind for the revised version of the article. One journal asks for articles of 10-15 double-spaced pages--right now, it's 25 pages long. The other journal, which is not accepting submissions for a year, is shorter still.
So now, I'll push aside the bills, books, and bits and pieces on my desk to begin trimming 10 to 12 pages from the manuscript... After 60+- hours of writing on the initial article, this pruning sounds plain ugly, doesn't it? But you know what?

I think the story will be better.

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