Writer, Rejected runs a blog called Literary Rejections on Display. It is probably obvious that I am sort of addicted to this site. I go through phases: I check it regularly, then I stop myself and ignore it for several months. Then I remember it again and sift through its wreckage. The site frustrates me quite a lot, actually. I don’t mean Writer, Rejected frustrates me as an anonymous online person (Writer, Rejected was nothing but kind during our email exchange), even though sometimes her/his posts at LROD are a bit offputting. Instead, I mean that many of the users who troll the site to leave their weird comments frustrate me. I don’t understand why writers get so indignant when it comes to rejection letters: they overanalyze any slight variations between form letters; they put a lot of meaning into ‘inked’ rejections; they throw fits when some editor out there commits some injustice against the literary world, be that an offense against some odd aesthetic floating around on the internet (‘good fiction’) or against some struggling writer. Sure, I know about rejection – I remember when I first started submitting places. And I also have problems when it comes to how long some journals take to respond. But Jesus Christ, people. Get over yourselves. It’s part of the ‘game.’
My own opinions aside, Writer, Rejected has built a ‘massive’ following online because of her/his blog. Lots of people go there and read about the latest advances in rejection and in responding to rejection. There are posts of specific rejection letters, posts about journals that have fucked up in some way, posts about authors who have fucked up in some way, and other things of interest. If anything, there is always some sort of spectacle to look at over there. I like this about the site.
Writer, Rejected was patient enough to deal with my lame questions. And recently, Writer, Rejected asked his/her readers to grade the LROD blog. So I figured I’d administer my own little quiz, I guess. Each question is worth five points. There is also a bonus question.
What follows are Writer, Rejected’s responses to my email quiz questions (beware of the jump).
1. ‘Professionalism.’ We don’t really know what that word means at HTMLGIANT, but I have seen it in comments on your blog, usually in phrases like, ‘this blog lacks professionalism’ and ‘you are ruining your writing career,’ etc. Could you define ‘professionalism’ for us and maybe talk about it, I don’t know, something related to your blog, and also maybe talk about the words ‘writing’ and ‘career’ as a phrase? Why is this a concern of some of your ‘readers’?
Professionalism is never having to say you’re sorry…unless you are sorry, in which case, professionalism gives you the balls to say so. From my perspective, it’s a lot like love: best accomplished by being who you are. For me, making a point about the absurdity we’ve reached in literary fiction is more important than saving my own ass. If someone doesn’t want to publish me because of my blog, or because I published his or her rejection letter, I have to say that I’m pretty sure it won’t be the worst reason for rejection I’ve ever gotten, or ever will get.