Begone all spooks!

There are always times of increase and times of decrease. I guess they roughly follow the shape of a sine wave: up and down, up and down, up and down. It’s particularly in those ‘down times’ that we look to the future, that we hope that, “This time next year we’ll be millionaires.” (I’m a big fan of Only Fools and Horses, can you tell?!)

I’ve really loved being at home with both children this half-term. We’ve done lots of fun things, enjoyed being outside amidst glorious autumn colour and spent time with loving grandmothers.

Yet in the background my email inbox has been pinging away with writing rejections. I don’t often write about my writing – any free time, just for me, is crammed full of creativity, and I find that writing about that creativity seems to be a hindrance to me doing more creative things. So I admit, I’m not great at letting people know what I’m up to.

But on the writing front it has been busy! I have pretty much finished editing my first novel, I’ve written a few short stories, several pieces of flash fiction and many poems. And I’ve actually been sending them out (which, I find, to be the greatest faff of all!). I’ve been pretty organized about my submissions recently and kept a note of what I’ve been sending out. I can see that since July I’ve made 21 submissions. I do feel a great sense of achievement for just getting those things out there.

After years of sending work out, I’m pretty philosophical about rejections. I try to see it as a pleasant bonus to be published; the real treasure is in the craft of writing, when my Muse takes flight and I find myself transported to another world.

But… being a highly sensitive person, I still find that a part of me takes rejections personally, and so I cannot help but find that they lower my mood. I really do understand the odds. It’s tough finding just the right magazine/publisher/online site for that piece of writing; and then of course I know that there must be several hundred (or perhaps several thousand) other writers submitting their work alongside mine too. And each one of us hopes for the ‘yes’ that gives us a sense that what we are doing is worthwhile, and even, perhaps, wins us a little bit of much-needed money.

Rejections are absolutely manageable, but when they’re accompanied by a chest full of cough and cold, huge amounts of work to do for my other job as founder of a small press, and continued financial uncertainty in our family finances it somehow all feels like too much. It feels as though the ‘down time’ is here to stick around for a while.

Tonight as I go trick-or-treating with the kids I hope that our own Jack-o’-lantern will serve to ward off some of the spookiness of rejections; I especially want it to banish those tricksy thoughts which come unbidden alongside a rejection: What’s the point of all this effort? Maybe you’re just not cut out to be a writer. 

And if the Jack-o’-lantern can actually do anything about the actual rejections too, that’ll be a real bonus! [I’ll keep you posted about that… :-)]


Grinning Jack-o-lantern 2014 low res scaled

Sharing this (one year belatedly!) with the wonderful Chrissie and Maddy of #WhatI’mWriting fame. 🙂

Muddled Manuscript

12 comments on “Begone all spooks!

  1. There’s been a lot of talk about monsters in our house this halloween, and about how carving pumpkins and dressing up helps to scare them off. Arthur hasn’t decided yet whether his monsters are physically real – he sees them in the shadows, hears them in the creaks of the house. For my part, though, it’s made me think about banishing the inner demons. Never easy, but so important if we’re going to keep on keeping on! I hope you’re managing to keep yours under control 🙂


    • Marija Smits says:

      Thanks for your comment Sophie – and I think that rather like Arthur, my monsters are mostly imagined (maybe the scariest kind?). I received a big fat rejection yesterday so today I’m feeling rather blue, but working hard to ‘keep on keeping on’. Take care. 🙂


  2. maddy@writingbubble says:

    Thanks for linking up! Have you been making as many submissions this year? I would love to submit more but, as you say, it’s quite a faff and at the moment I’m just not prolific enough! Oh and as I said last year you are TOTALLY cut out to be a writer! xx


    • Marija Smits says:

      You’re welcome Maddy. 🙂 I’ll have to have a count of submissions – but yes, I definitely have been submitting. Lots of stuff is ‘out there’ at the moment and I’m just waiting to hear back from the various places (although, as usual, I’m not particularly hopeful!). Have a Happy Halloween with your guys. 🙂


  3. With you all the way – I have my rational side that is pragmatic about rejection but if I’m honest it still hurts. Being highly sensitive is so compatible with being an artist of any type (and you’re creating in more than one field) but the pain of being misunderstood or rejected is the downside. Well done for keeping going. Enjoy trick or treating with the kids!


    • Marija Smits says:

      I knew you’d be able to empathise Becky. And even though I’m pretty philosophical about rejections these things can’t help but be ‘not positive’! Hope you have a happy Halloween too. 🙂


  4. It sounds like you have had a lovely time with your children – my favourite (and dare I say – most inspiring season of change). I am just starting to build up the confidence to send things out and, like you, can get a little low as the rejections pop into my inbox. We’ve just got to keep trying. It’s not all about success achieved is about the process, the enjoyment and the development along the way. Must keep this as my mantra on repeat! Thanks for sharing this. Lovely to meet you here!


  5. maddy@writingbubble says:

    I’m impressed that you’ve made that many submissions and even more impressed at all the poems, stories etc that you’ve had published! Rejections suck, it’s true, but it is at least reassuring that we’ve all been there… numerous times. I also struggle sometimes with rejections feeling personal even while the logical part of my brain assures me it’s just one of those things! You’re clearly cut out to be a writer though – i’ve just read some of your work and I have no doubt!


    • Marija Smits says:

      Thanks Maddy for your kind words. I sometimes have these ‘low points’ when I get rejected – it’s mainly to do with volume rather than quality of rejections though 😉 – and that’s when I like to have a moan on the blog.

      And thanks for stopping by and reading. Much appreciated.


  6. Helen Lloyd says:

    Sending you a big hug. And you are, of course, cut out to be a writer.


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