Rejection on the Rocks

A byproduct of being an artist and/or human in any capacity is suffering the occasional rejection. For writers, by occasional, I naturally mean a continuous barrage of gut-wrenching, truly heinous repudiation and despair. The majority of us are all too familiar with this ferocious assault on self-worth—we remember middle school—however, that does not mean we are adequately equipped to handle the emotional toll rejection takes on creative motivation.

I know as a writer, I regard the fruits of my labor as children. There is little as painful as pouring everything you have into creating your child only to have it sent back as unworthy of publication, except maybe the rejection of an actual child you birthed and raised for 23 years. For more information on how that feels, ask my parents.

The fact of the matter is, when putting yourself out there creatively, rejection is inevitable and if the writing field is your jam, the only option is to learn to deal.

Luckily for all of us, alcohol exists.

Sloppy work yields sloppy results, and this dog magazine is not required to throw you a bone simply because you tried.

Booze itself is not a solution to facing the realities of the writing profession, but is quite effective as a means of reinvigorating creativity, getting out of a rut, or dulling the sting of a negative response. I find strategic pairing of the correct cocktail with a plan of action assists in the struggle against succumbing to disillusionment. When the going gets tough, the tough get drinking.

I am in no way advocating for the intentional adoption of a serious drinking problem, but I find it mightily coincidental (read: not at all a coincidence) that many of the great writers of our time are notorious drinkers.

Photo by Bernt Rostad.

Photo by Bernt Rostad.

French 75

1 glass champagne
1½ oz dry gin
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp. powdered sugar

You created a masterpiece, it’s undeniable. Your cat said so! Hours upon hours of effort and research poured onto the page, and you were 150% positive they justified all the coffee required by the task. You assumed publication was in the bag, but after a mere two days you were served with a rejection email from the editor. Though the gun control exposé you submitted was astute, articulate, and astoundingly alliterative, it turns out NRA Weekly was uninterested. Go figure. Time to shake yourself up a classy French 75 in celebration of your hard work. Not every piece will be appreciated by every audience, no matter how great it may be. If you believe in your work and someone doesn’t like it, they can suck it! Simply make a list of more appropriate venues, and send that killer article elsewhere.

Write for Us - Pyragraph

Photo by James Qualtrough.

Photo by Qualtrough.

Blarney Stone

2 oz whiskey
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice, from about two limes
Ginger beer, chilled
Garnish: lime twist

You wrote it, there were words involved in the jumble of nouns and verbs you sent to someone for consideration. If physical existence were the sole requirement for acceptance by High Desert Dog Magazine then your piece would have been a real treat. Alas, it is not, and your half-assed article got a full-assed kick to the curb. Even when attaching your document to the email, you remained all too aware of the unnecessary comma abundance and lack of spell check. Sloppy work yields sloppy results, and this dog magazine is not required to throw you a bone simply because you tried. So be a good boy, grab some whiskey and shake it like a Polaroid picture with some lime and ginger beer. Revise your work carefully before trying again, and work on some better dog puns for goodness’ sake you animal!


Photo by Mariko.

The Bill Cosby: Extra Dirty Martini

2½ oz gin
½ oz dry vermouth
½ oz olive brine
1 quaalude, crushed

It has been two years since you began this piece. There were at least three fewer Kardashians alive, and no one knew Jared the Subway guy was a molester. No one knew that Josh Duggar was a molester. No one knew Bill Cosby was a molester. No one even knew Stephen Collins from 7th Heaven was a molester! No one knew it would take you this long to finish this screenplay. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a substantial amount of time to fine-tune your work if you are actually fine-tuning it and not brainstorming ways you could lose it in a fire. Don’t let the amount of time or energy investment in a piece dictate its importance in your life.

If you are utterly burnt out on something you no longer care about it WILL come across in the piece. Sometimes it is best to let go, and move on. There is nothing wrong with jumping ship on an overworked piece! Remember, lost time is lost molesting. Kidding! But you still can drink a Bill Cosby “special” martini.

Long Island Iced Tea

¾ oz vodka
¾ oz tequila
¾ oz rum
¾ oz gin
¾ oz triple sec
1½ oz sweet and sour mix
1 splash Coca-Cola

Occasionally the creative flow is critically disrupted, manifesting in the form of what is colloquially known as writer’s block. If you still want to be writing about what you are working on, but lack the mental capacity to do so at the moment, it is best to take a break and return to it later. You can’t force magic, people! The best anecdote for what we on the streets call “the block” is the age-old art of karaoke. Since this is singularly more mortifying than being unable to articulate your thoughts about something you love, alcohol is integral. Seeing as there is a lot of crying involved with “the block” you will need to replenish your tears with multiple refreshing Long Island Iced Teas. Four of these babies and your rendition of “Material Girl” will never sound better. Resume work as usual when recovered, usually about a week and a half or maybe never. YOLO, etc.


Photo by Jim.

Straight Vodka

It’s rewrite number six on your thesis and your advisor has insisted you scrap the whole thing because it has become evident it is not going to be an acceptable topic after all. Too large in scope, and too little research to support it. Good thing you haven’t been working on this same paper for the last six months or anything. Shots anyone?

Avatar photo

About Kallie Red-Horse

Kallie is an over-caffeinated English Literature graduate student living in Stockholm, Sweden. Her life is primarily comprised of stealing pens, taking too many photos of her cat, and doing crosswords. She also writes a satirical blog that is incredibly serious, occasionally humorous, and never contradictory, always.

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