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The Losing Game: The Numbers

January 1, 2018

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The Losing Game: Writing Rejections 43-55/100

October 21, 2019

As of today, babes, it's late October, and once again despite all my best efforts I fear I may fall short of my goal of 100 rejections. With just over 10 weeks left in the year, I'm just above halfway to my goal. Valiant effort, but much like Primrose Everdeen the odds aren't in my favour.

 

I have 38 submissions still out in the world, and even if I heard back from all of them this calendar year, that's only 93. I'm no math genius, (ask my grade 10 teacher who had to deal with me while explaining quadratic theory, she thought i was "spirited, but a bit slow".) but that's 7 shy of the goal.

Now Erin, you might be asking, are the rejections really the goal? Isn't it the process, the effort, the getting comfortable sending out, and dare I say it, the acceptances?

Yes, hypothetical question asker I invented for the sake of moving this narrative in the direction I want, it is those things. I grew up with parents who believed hard work to be its own reward. They said this often when I refused to do my quadratics homework because I knew my grade 10 math teacher wasn't going to check my homework. Though increasingly I've been wondering in an output oriented world if hard work IS its own reward. I recently did a poll in my instagram story and people overwhelmingly voted that hard work was not its own reward, only rewards were rewards. I thought about this. There are some people who get much further ahead than others with less work, there are some who slog for every inch of the journey. One of my high school best friends (she was good at math) is very tall. She received a full basketball scholarship to a school in the States. She told me that there were girls on her team who worked way harder than she did, way harder, and she felt bad for them because they weren't going to be able to do what she naturally could. Just last night I was talking to my partner and we were talking about pro-wrestling (as is my life now, apparently,) and he said it was a great myth that effort could make up for certain attributes.

So if hard work, process, etc is the main point of this exercise, these are not things I necessarily believe in as end goals anymore. Rejections are tangible. Until I'm done recalibrating, getting as many rejections as I said I was going to is the goal, full stop.

The good news is, I've already topped my total number of rejections from last year, which was 50 exactly. I've had fewer acceptance though, so the ratio is worse.

 
Send me your speed response magic, loves, and I'll forward along all of that delicious "Thanks but No Thanks." It's somehow both thickening and thinning my skin.
Paradoxes. What are you gonna do?

[REJECTION 43/100]

Dear Erin Kirsh:

We have carefully considered your submission, "Six Poems," and regret that we do not have a place for it in Indiana Review. We appreciate your support and wish you luck placing your work elsewhere.

The Editors
 

[WRITING REJECTION 44/100]

*did not make it to the final round*
 

[WRITING REJECTION 45/100]

*also did not make it to final cut*
 

[WRITING REJECTION 46/100]

Dear Erin Kirsh,

Thank you for submitting "A History of my Body in 52 Vignettes" to Room magazine. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept it for publication.

Members of Room’s collective read over 4000 submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction each year, of which less than 2% are accepted for publication. As you can imagine, we have to make some very tough choices. Each issue of Room is edited by a different collective member, and each issue editor is responsible for choosing manuscripts that most closely match their issue in theme and feeling. Please feel free to visit http://roommagazine.com from time to time to find out which themes might be under consideration.

Again, thanks for sending your work to us—and best wishes in your literary pursuits.

Room
 

 

[WRITING REJECTION 47/100]

Dear Erin Kirsh,

Thank you for sending us "Two Stories." We appreciate that you gave us the chance to read it. Unfortunately, it was not chosen for publication. Please know that we must decline many quality submissions because they may not fit the shape of our upcoming issue. We wish you success in your writing and hope that you keep us in mind in the future.

Sincerely,

Psychopomp Magazine
 

[REJECTION 48/100]

Dear Erin Kirsh,

Thank you for sending us your poems. We appreciate the chance to consider it. Unfortunately, the piece is not right for us at this moment.

Thanks again and best of luck with your work.

Sincerely,

The Editors
carte blanche

[REJECTION 49/100]

Dear Erin,

Thank you for your submission to Spilled Milk Magazine. After a careful review, our staff has decided this work is not quite right for the magazine at this time. Best of luck placing this elsewhere, and we hope to hear from you again soon!

Sincerely,
Spilled Milk Magazine

[REJECTION 50/100]

Dear Erin,

Thank you for submitting your poem "Already" to Okay Donkey. Unfortunately, we decided that this piece isn't quite the right fit for us. It doesn't quite have enough of that twist of the weird we're looking for. We wish you the best of luck in placing it elsewhere. Thanks again for thinking of us and sending your work to Okay Donkey.

Sincerely,
The Editors

 

[REJECTION 51/100]

Dear Erin,

Thank you for submitting your query about your manuscript for our consideration. We appreciate the time you've taken to send your work our way. Unfortunately, our editorial team decided that it wouldn't make a good fit for our list.

We're sorry to have to turn down the opportunity to publish this work, and wish you success with it.

All best wishes,

City Lights
 

[REJECTION 52/100]

*rejected by non response*

 

[REJECTION 53/100]

Dear Erin Kirsh,

Thank you for sending us "Four Poems." Unfortunately, it doesn't fit our needs at this time. We wish you the best of luck in placing it elsewhere.

Sincerely,
Virginia Quarterly Review

[REJECTION 54/100]

Dear Erin Kirsh,

Thank you for submitting "Three Flash Fiction Pieces" to Gordon Square Review. While we appreciate the chance to read your work, we regret that we are unable to accept it for publication. One of the unfortunate realities of literary publishing is that editors will always have to pass on a lot more work than they accept. As writers ourselves, we understand the frustration of rejection, but please know we appreciate your time and efforts and are honored you trusted us with your work.

Thanks again, and we wish you the best in placing your work elsewhere!

Best, 
Gordon Square Review
 

 

[REJECTION 55/100]

Dear Erin Kirsh, 

Thank you for submitting "Moving Out" to The Malahat Review. 

We are unable to accept your work for publication this time around. 

We are sorry that we are not contacting you with better news, and also to be notifying you by way of a form letter — the sheer (and increasing) number of submissions makes it impossible for a small magazine (reliant on volunteer labour) to respond personally to all submissions. 

Thank you for thinking of the magazine as a good home for your writing. We wish you success in placing your work elsewhere. 

The Editors 
 

 All my love to you in this grey, grey, season,

- E.B. Kirsh


 

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