Thursday, July 16, 2015

To Submit Or Not - getting Over the fear of Rejection by Roseanne Dowell


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Strange, realistic visions and dreams invade Rebecca Brennan’s mind. When she experiences someone’s pain, she’s determined to find out who shares her mind. Her search leads to a small town filled with Victorian homes and interesting people and puts her life in danger.
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I could barely open my eyes. Was it morning already? Another sleepless night and my head felt like a million cotton balls resided in it. Disoriented didn’t even begin to describe how I felt.  How would I ever get through the day? Needless to say I was anxious, which explains the sleepless night. I've always been that way, excited and anxious before a big event. Like a kid at Christmas waiting for Santa. 
Coffee was definitely on the agenda. Lots and lots of coffee. I bided my time until a reasonable time to make the phone call regarding a query, and it was only 7 AM. Watching the clock didn't help and I busied myself around my apartment.
The submission guidelines allowed me to present the query via phone or email. I opted for phone because I'd get my answer immediately. 

    Finally eight o'clock rolled around and I garnered up the courage to call, only to have the receptionist tell me to call back later. It wasn't easy getting the courage to submit. No one likes rejections and I've had my fair share. Most writers will tell you they can wallpaper a room with them. I certainly could. But as a wise person once told me, if you don't submit, you'll never get an acceptance either. Submitting over the phone via mail or email took a lot of courage.   
 My nerves on edge, I sipped my coffee, sat at my computer, and pondered my notes. Did I have everything I wanted to say? Would I sound professional enough?  Maybe it would be better to email a query.
Either way I’d have to wait. If I made the phone call, hopefully the editor of Ohio Writer's Magazine would be in a good mood and I’d get the answer right away. Decisions, decisions. 
    I took a deep breath, wishing my stomach would calm down. I hated waiting for anything. Patience was not one of my better virtues.     
    I opened my email screen to compose. “I called a magazine a few minutes after 8 and can't call back until  9:30.” I wrote to my writing buddy. Hopefully, she'd answer right away and help me pass the time, give me the encouragement I needed, and critique my query. 
No such luck. Apparently she wasn't online. I stared at the clock, watching the numbers slowly tick away.  Only 8:15, more than an hour to wait. There was only one thing to do. 
    Write! 
    Okay but write what? My brain was so focused on this query I couldn't think of anything else. I went to the kitchen for more coffee, stopped and chatted with my grandson, who had spent the night. He wasn’t in a chatty mood, too glued to the television screen. He didn't even want breakfast, which would have passed some time.
    I glanced at the clock again, only 8:20, still more than an hour. 
    I really shouldn't complain, it wasn't as bad as mailing a query and waiting 4 to 6 weeks for an answer. Often times a rejection. 
    I sat back at the computer and tried to write but the blank page on the computer screen stared back at me. 
I tapped my fingers on the keyboard. What to do?  I look over my notes again. It wasn’t a bad query, with a little work maybe I could improve it.  My fingers moved rapidly over the key board. Finished I leaned back, looked at it for a moment.  "Yes!"   
"Did you call me?" My grandson appeared in the doorway.
"Huh? Oh no." I hadn't realized I spoke aloud. "Just talking to myself" He disappeared into the other room, and I chuckled. I'm sure he thought I was nuts. 
    I shrugged and looked at the computer screen. Just do it an inner voice said. I moved the cursor to select all, clicked it, and then copy. I opened the email screen, typed in the address of the magazine. Should I do this? 
Do it something inside said. If I sent the email by time the editor came in it would be there. Besides, what if she didn't like my voice or what if I stammered and stuttreed? No mattr how rehearsed I was, sometimes the words fumbled out of my mouth.
What the heck, I had nothing to lose. I moved the mouse over the send button.  A click and it disappeared. Gone. Off into cyber space.  
An hour later, I had my answer via email. Send the article, we’ll look at it.  This time the query paid off, I’m glad I didn’t wait.  If only every query turned out so easy.  But, alas, it’s not the norm, often it’s a flat out rejection. If I had allowed my fear of rejection stop me from submitting I never would have been published. Fortunately, I discovered the worst they could say was no and if you don't try, you'll never know. Of course, they still had to accept the article. So the waiting wasn't over yet.



My article, Show Me the Story appeared in the Nov/Dec 2004 issue of Ohio Writer's Magazine.

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