Rejection Letters

Late Night Edits in Google Docs (On Rejecting Your Own Writing)

11:45 PM:

This is reading well! I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but the story might be done after another draft or so.

11:47 PM:

Yes, yes! That one paragraph that I always find myself feeling proud of still makes me proud.

11:48 PM:

But this paragraph? Conjunction city, buddy. Also: too many subject-verb sentences. Rework.

11:50 PM:

Okay, this entire page is not actually saying anything. Delete or rework.

11:53 PM:

Be honest with yourself: how much of this writing do you think is good writing?

11:55 PM:

Interesting how all of your protagonists have either a dead or dying mother, and that the death or dying of this mother always has some sort of underlying implications on their current romantic relationship. Haha,,, haha,,,, haha,,,, maybe don’t think too much about that one 🙂

11:57 PM:

This character certainly is similar to your ex-girlfriend…

11:57 PM:

Haha, but, like, all writers use their experience in the real world to create their stories and characters!

11:59 PM:

Also, I mean, at least I’m interrogating my subconscious! And my past! My writing is a culmination of my history and failures, my fears and regrets and shame. That’s a good thing! (I think.)

12:01 AM:

You know, this next scene is more or less doing what it needs to.

12:02 AM:

But there certainly isn’t much happening in the way of plot…

12:05 AM:

What should happen in this story? You’re a writer, Josh. Dig! Consider a funeral, a brawl. Some sort of blowout argument. Perhaps a conspiracy, some small-scale fraud. Find something exciting to include, and then, you know, include it!

12:10 AM:

There is no story. There is literally no story in this story.

12:13 AM:

I am not a writer. Anyone who talks to me about my writing is only humoring me. Someday I am going to be seen through and exposed, humiliated, and left to wander toward a completely new identity that I can actually live up to.

12:18 AM:

Perhaps I should consider coming back to this draft tomorrow.

12:18 AM:

No, no—that would be quitting!

12:25 AM:

I am… tired… and… suddenly… depressed… and…also… angry!…

12:29 AM:

This story. Is never. Going. To be. Written.

12:31 AM:

[shutting my laptop] [breathing deeply through my nose] But…

12:32 AM:

I wouldn’t want to put this nervous energy into anything else.

***

Josh Olivier is a fiction writer and active touring musician in his band, No Better. His writing has previously appeared in Entropy, Maudlin House, and The Wrangler. He really is trying his best.

image: Natalie Allstead

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