New Year Motivation: Rejection Inspiration

New Year 2020 is coming concept – inscription 2019 and 2020 a beach sand, the wave is almost covering the digits 2019.

Here’s a neat story about rejections…and sticking with ‘your story’ regardless of how many you receive.

I finished writing a short horror story about 2.5 years ago; it was a labour of love that I kept returning to, and working on, for three years prior to that. So let’s say I’ve been living with this story for almost six years.

I subbed it for the first time on August 24, 2017. I recall that date, because it was my Mom’s birthday. I waited…and waited…and ultimately received the first rejection. No feedback or criticism, just…a ‘no thanks’.

Undaunted, I subbed it eight times in the following year and a half. I was committed to this story; almost everyone who read it thought it was clever. Well, everyone except the anthology editors I was sending it to, because time and time again, it was rejected.

But I continued to believe there was a special place for this tale of terror. Turns out, there was.


Last night, just before heading to work on the graveyard shift, I received a strange note from an editor about a story I’d submitted. I honestly couldn’t recall the editor or the story, so I ran through the files and emails on my tablet, and…hey!

I can’t get into details–temporarily keeping it under wraps–but the chiller I imagined and created and massaged and edited is one on a list of accepted stories for a horror anthology from an international horror lovers’ group. As I reviewed the contributors’ list, I realized that I was in excellent company; many co-contributors are established authors whose work has inspired mine.

Well, ‘dear story’, you found your home. All the rejections helped you arrive at your final destination. The ‘no thank yous’ were simply detours on a challenging journey, but you never gave up.

And heck, look at you now, you big shiny tale. What a fabulous thing to celebrate!

Never. Give. Up.
Happy holidays to all and here’s to a 2020 filled with detours and finding your homes.

Catherine Kenwell

Catherine Kenwell lives in a haunted house in Barrie, Ontario with her husband and furry family. She is an author of dark fiction and inspirational non-fiction, as well as a qualified mediator and jewelry designer. Her husband watches his back because Catherine regularly kills off the male spouse characters in her stories, while her father is concerned that her upbringing contributed to her gruesome imagination. As a survivor of multiple brain injuries, Catherine is a survivor mentor, and is vice-chair of the City of Barrie’s Accessibility Advisory Committee. After her second-last concussion, Catherine left her 30-year career in corporate communications, joined the circus, and returned to school to earn her qualified mediator designation. In addition to writing short horror, Catherine has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and is currently authoring an anthology of short stories from brain-injury survivors. The as-yet-untitled book will be available in June 2020, which is Brain Injury Awareness Month.

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