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On Pretzeling and Rejection

Posted on: April 5th, 2013 by bubbyjoysandoys 5 Comments

Enjoyed this? Share it, and attribute it. Copyright 2014, Bubby Joys and Oys, M. Hendeles

Recently I submitted an article to a  charming,  cool, witty, and inspirational website.

Sorry - not our style

Sorry – not our style

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,

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?

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5 Responses

  1. beccakinla says:

    Whoa. That’s intense.

    The worst rejection I ever got was when a publisher strung me along about whether they would publish my book…then finally said no. After months. Literally.

    At least, it was the worst feeling I got upon getting a rejection letter. But in the end, I realized it wouldn’t have been a good fit. They wanted me to make changes that showed they didn’t “get” my point, and frankly, my writing has gotten better…maybe I would’ve been embarrassed if my book had come out and it was subpar.

    There was also a rejection letter where I was psychoanalyzed. I didn’t appreciate that much.

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      Yes, Rebecca, — a bad fit —that seems to be the takeaway message for me with my experience. Good for you for realizing it sooner than later, as
      I took a bit longer to get the message. 🙂 That’s life – we live and learn and have to accept ourselves, know our strengths and then grab them and run with them.

  2. Don’t give up! I had plenty of rejections with my first book and then decided to self-publish. Maybe I could have /should have held out, worked harder , etc. but I felt I’d put as much as I could at the time into it and it was time for it to be born.
    One of the most memorable rejection (email)- was : “sorry, not in our wheelhouse.” I had no idea what they meant; it’s a baseball term. Onwards!
    Keep trying, you’ll find a niche and you already have a strong platform with your blog and book.

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      Thanks Lisa for the encouragement. I guess perseverance is both my strength and my problem. I need to know when to let go and move on…
      Your story about the “wheelhouse” language in the rejection is hysterical. That’s pretty funny. Well, you really found your niche, with all your journalistic work. Very impressive. Thanks again for your wise words…

  3. I enjoyed this. There are only so many words and ideas to write about. Part of what is unique and valuable about your writing is your style and voice. That’s what we forget sometimes. You can change your slant and style a bit for the audience, but if you change your voice too much you’ll sound fake.

    One of my most viewed posts was on rejection. It was posted in Jan. and it just found new life as a writer’s group (with my permission) included it in thier newsletter this month. Keep writing and developing your voice. 🙂

    PS. Found you through the Carol Tice Link Party.

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