On Rejection (again), Back to School and Kicking Ass

I know we’re not supposed to say anything negative online.

I’ve been to enough workshops, read enough articles, and discussed it with enough people to be aware that as writers in the current era of social media, we’re not supposed to blow off steam on the internet. No venting. No pity parties. No saying anything bad about anything at any time! I must always seem positive! *Cue Disney smile and jazz hands*

But sometimes, it’s not so easy. And we’re writers, so let’s face it: writing is how we express ourselves. That’s how we get our demons out.  So today, I’m going to use this space to say that I got a rejection this afternoon, and I’ve been having trouble bouncing back from it.

Now, before you tell me, hold on, cause I know–every writer gets rejected. A million times. It’s true, and I have to toughen up. The rejection I got was tempered with some really lovely words about my writing, and I should be thrilled that I got as much feedback as I did. But my tiptoeing into the world of publishing comes on the heels of not one, not two, but three failed careers. And after over a decade of many different kinds of rejections, this one just feels a little hard to swallow. Especially this time of year.

It’s September, and for many of you that means back to school for your kids. For me, it’s a reflection on the teaching career I wanted. A decade ago, I made the choice to go back to school for a master’s degree in education. My timing felt perfect: all the Tier One teachers were retiring, and there were openings galore in the field. I went into my master’s program with so much enthusiasm, and when I came out of it, proud and beaming with a 4.0 GPA, I found out that during the year and a half I’d been in school, all the jobs had been taken.

This is no exaggeration. It is almost impossible to get a teaching job in New York State, especially if all you’re trained in is general education on the elementary level. Still, I did my time. I was a per-diem substitute, and came into classrooms of rambunctious children to find plans on a napkin, with no supplies anywhere. I’ve been a T.A., a permanent substitute, and filled leave replacements. I’ve been told I couldn’t get hired by the district nearly my entire family either learned or worked in because it would look like nepotism, then moved hundreds of miles to find opportunity in another area of the state, only to be told it’s “who you know.” I spent eight years looking for a full time teaching job, went on over 50 interviews, waited and hoped and prayed, all along giving everything I had to the small jobs I got. And then my certificate expired. Now, my master’s degree is simply a $28,000 piece of paper on my wall.

So this time of year is especially painful for me, as I watch those yellow buses head off to warm, red-brick buildings where I’m no longer employed. Rejection is sharper right now. It’s hard to buck up, chalk it up to be just another thing that every writer goes through. It’s hard to remember how I felt last month, when I was kicking ass and taking numbers.

And that’s when I told myself I needed to go kick some ass.

You see, another thing about me is that I used to be obese, but I’m not anymore. I went from a size 14 to a 4, and while that may not have anything to do with writing, it has to do with my heart. With me. So instead of drowning my sorrows in chocolate, I’ve got my gym clothes on. Instead of licking my wounds, I’m going to go kick some ass. I’m going to wash away my heavy heart in sweat. And tomorrow, I’ll lift my head high, and start again.

Happy September, everyone.



  1. You are an amazing writer and your chance will come. You put your whole being into it and you will reap the rewards. Also, what you have accomplished in taking control of your body and and your life is wonderful and inspiring. Keep striving. Keep bucking. Your turn will come.

  2. College Essay Whiz says:

    You express your disappointment with dignity and grace. I am awed by your writing, and I have faith in you! And of course, you are an inspiration in the way you have kept fit and trim!

  3. Miranda Kate says:

    I am amazed about you not being able to get a teaching job – or that any type of study/certification can ‘run out’ (WTF?!), but I am from the UK, where they are in dire need of teachers, and I also know Australia needs teachers too.

    But when reading your story part of me thinks, you weren’t meant to be teaching, you were meant to be writing, and the universe conspired to keep it that way.

    All rejection, however nicely sandwiched between ‘feedback’ is really hard to take, and needs time to process. I feel it when a friend reads something for me and comes back telling me it doesn’t work for them! It’s tough getting it right, and then trying to get it right for the right audience!

    But your attitude about your teaching career, your ability to lose so much weight, and not binge, but exercise when getting a blow to your ego, tells me you have the focus, determination and discipline to take this all the way.

    Have faith and trust in YOU. Keep believing that you can achieve this. But also allow youself time to feel sad, and comfort yourself, you deserve that too.


  4. I’m so proud of you. I know it’s hard to think about but try to remember God has a plan for you–and it’s not always OUR plan for ourselves. I’m impressed with your grades, your kick-ass attitude, and most of all your desire to never give up. I love you, girlie! xo

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