Livia Llewellyn is one smart lady
On Livia Llewellyn‘s blog she goes through her year end summary and then talks about rejections in exactly the same terms that I think about them.
I don’t keep stats for rejections. In fact, I have a shocking admission: I don’t even keep my rejections. Listen, I spent twenty years being rejected by THOUSANDS of casting directors. It’s not like I have a huge list of all the people who didn’t put me in their play or movie because of A, B, or C – I did my piece, was told “no”, and moved on without feeling the need to memorialize it or keep some kind of “souvenir” of my rejection. It should be the same principle for writing – at least for me, if no one else I know of.
If the agent or editor asks me to submit again in the future, I make a reference in a spreadsheet. I do keep track of where I send projects to and if/when they return, so I don’t send it to the same place twice (hey, I’m forgetful, it could happen). And if someone gives me good editorial advice, I take note of it. But keeping a box of actual rejection papers? I have a box labeled “Contracts”. I toss the rejections in the trash. I have no idea how many rejections I’ve received. It’s not relevant. Saying “I have ‘X’ total sales” is more important than saying “I have ‘X’ total rejections”. I know this attitude goes against everything most writers believe about rejections, but there it is.
I’ve kept a couple of good personal rejections, but more because the content is useful than for a scrapbook. I can tell you that I had five rejections before my first sale. I could add up all the places that stories have been, because I do keep track of that to avoid sending a story to the same place twice, but I don’t think it matters. Thank you, Livia, for saying it so well.