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Recently I submitted an article to a charming, cool, witty, and inspirational website.
Said website is one that I have been dying to get accepted to for the past umpteen (about 4 to be exact) years.
I have written countless articles on varied topics,and sent them in to a friend of mine who works at said chic website.
And in spite of my passion and efforts to twist myself into a pretzel in order to get published by this cool, witty, charming, and inspirational website… it has not happened. My work has not been accepted by them.
“Sorry, we find that your writing style is not for us…” (ouch!)
“Sorry, we don’t think this will work for our website…” (double ouch!)
“Thank you for your submission but we regret…” (triple ouch!)
So what’s the deal? Did I submit without doing research?
Now, let me be really clear. I know this website inside out. I read their columns consistently. I have been inspired by many of their columnists’ writings and I email, post on Facebook and share in various forums.
I have read their guidelines, their myriad articles, and have basically imbibed their style and messages until I can quote their writers verbatim at our weekly Shabbat table. I know what they look for. I’ve tried (probably too hard) to write according to their criteria, and I have chosen topics that would be of interest to their audience.
I get them. I like them. I’ve practically stalked them.
But unfortunately, the admiration is not mutual. Not here.
So where do I go from here?
Now it is time for me to give it up. Let it go. Accept the reality.
Some people do not connect. These relationships are not meant to be and are not “beschert,” as we say in Yiddish for “destiny.”
So said the editor of that rejecting website in a carefully and sensitively crafted email that she wrote to me last week to explain how some things are just not going to happen.
And whether those relationships are family relationships, friendship relationships, employer-employee relationship, or in this case – website owners and writer relationship, the basic rule is the same.
We cannot control what others think about us, and whether they approve of our writing, or even us.
Now let me be clear (again!): This kind of rejection was not the standard rejection (which I have received in the past in various settings, and have been okay with them) such as, “Hey, this is not going to work for us. Please read our guidelines and resubmit.”
Reframing and Moving On:
Nope. They came just short of saying (through an intermediary), “leave us alone. You are not our style.”
Which to me is an outright rejection of my persona, my voice, my..style.
That is, if I choose to take it that way. But I will not go there. Why? Because after thinking about this for some time (well, actually several years, right? I’m a slow learner), I have come to the conclusion that I cannot be them. I can try, but it doesn’t work.
No more pretzeling for me.
One of our jobs as writers is to be ourselves. We can bend and twist as if we were a pretzel. We can try to adapt and be someone else, but as pretzels we cannot connect with others. So why bother?
Our job as writers is to have self-awareness. We need to know who we are, what style we write in, and how we are willing (and capable given our abilities) to grow and expand.
My style is unique. So is this website’s style. And even if it means I have to admit that I’m not as “cool,” “witty,” or “chic” as that website, I know that at least I am being myself and writing what is true to my personality. I have found my voice, and that is the one I use.
For now, that is actually cool enough for me!
Feel free to use the comment section below to share a rejection experience you (or someone you know) has had.
Do you have any stories regarding “pretzeling,” or trying to be…..someone else? How has that been for you, and what have you learned?
Photo Credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=23004&picture=private-keep-out
Tags: being yourself, different styles, Pretzels, rejection, relationships