Monday, 12 May 2014


‘Curse the blasted, jelly-boned swines, the slimy, the belly-wriggling invertebrates, the miserably sodding rotters, the flaming sods, the snivelling, dribbling, dithering, palsied, pulseless lot that make up England today. They’ve got white of egg in their veins, and their spunk is that watery it’s a marvel they can breed …

DH Lawrence, as you can probably infer from the above, was a tad peeved at having his MS of 'Sons and Lovers' rejected. 

Is it tougher handling rejection if you are a genius? Probably not, no, it's just that by being a genius they can articulate their fury so much better. 

Three months ago I entered the BBC's Opening Lines competition for short stories to be performed on air. I was tilting at windmills, of course. This comp attracts the heavyweights of short story telling and any chance of my effort getting through is of the snowball in Hell variety. Yet still a little seed of hope nestled against my ribs these past long months. Finally, today, the shortlist (or was that the longlist?) of selected entries would be announced. And from the Beeb I heard nothing. No rejection letter, no commiserations, no 'try again next year and good luck'.  If you are rejected, you're simply not told. Suck it up. And so that little nurtured seed of hope died. 

Most writers handle rejection on a daily basis, sending out their ms to multiple editors, journals and competitions. It's a numbers game and some receive so many rejection letters they supposedly have papered their walls with them. I'm not as tough, driven or as talented as them. I'm a bumbling amateur. If something inspires me, I'll give it a go without any real expectation of success. Am I downhearted by this rejection? Sure, a little. More so than losing the lottery perhaps, because here I didn't just pick a number, I put a hell of a lot of an effort into making the work as good as I could. And the cold knowledge it's not good enough, not even for a rejection note, is tough. 

But wait, I now read that the longlist/shortlist will be announced by the 16th of May, not today as I'd thought. That stupid little seed of hope is right back up against my ribs and I've got four more days of thinking maybe, just maybe, that little snowball actually found Hell frozen over. Damn, I hate this...


  1. Hey, you're a star on Thousands get rejected there every day! But yes, feeling hope encourages the process. Keep writing, Peter!