Getting rejected stings. Not only are you out the chance to have a published clip and make some money, it hurts that you put so much work into a piece only to have it summarily dismissed. Hearing “thanks but no thanks” is like being told your baby is ugly.
It’s even worse when you’re searching for a literary agent. Sending a brilliantly concise letter and a sample chapter and getting “not a good fit” in return is like being told your baby’s ultrasound is ugly.
Although these days editors are more likely to nyet you via e-mails, some people still do send their nope-not-for-us missives on paper. That’s why I decided to make this list. Here are 10 more uses for a rejection slip:
1. Add the person’s name and e-mail address to chain letters. Okay, not really – that would be just wrong. But it’s a fun revenge fantasy.
2. Create a strip of paper dolls. This is another chance for an imaginary up-yours: Write the name of the rejecting editor/agent on each figure. Hold the chain up and make the rudest face you can. Then run the whole thing through the shredder while muttering youhadyourchanceandblewit or maybe something like waituntilIbecomefamousyou’llbesorrythen. (Note: Revenge fantasies are by definition immature.)
3. Rejection origami! Boxes, dinosaurs, fish, frogs, jewelry, flowers, even “Star Wars” – see the Origami Resource Center for the how-to.
4. Tear them into squares and use as scrap paper. The letter gets one more shot at usefulness before its hits your recycle bin.
5. Papier-mâché. You may remember doing this in elementary school and using newspaper, but any kind of paper will do. Go beyond a globe of the world built around a balloon, though, with help from the paper mache projects page on Pinterest or the amazing work of Dan the Monster Man at Gourmet Paper Mache. (And yes, both places spelled it wrong.)
6. Make snowflakes and chains to decorate your Christmas tree. That’s taking defeat and turning it into a “nyah-nyah, you never hurt me” nose-thumbing. (A bit of grownup eggnog can help you hone that defiant edge.)
7. Use them as fire-starters in the wood stove or fireplace. Fewer and fewer people are subscribing to newspapers these days and thus use junk mail along with their kindling. Rejection slips definitely fall under that definition.
8. Turn them into paper airplanes. Download some templates from Fun Paper Airplanes or fold them freehand. Pretend the rejecting editor/agent is standing in front of you and launch away. (See “immature,” above.)
9. Make new paper. A messy project, but fun for your kids/grandkids, your Sunday school class or your home daycare. Or maybe you know a teacher who can use turn your waste paper into art. This page at the TeacherVision website offers tips.
10. Save them all in a file folder. When you sell your magazine article/book and become super-famous, you have the option of sending each of those naysayers a “whoops, bad call” note. Again, probably a revenge fantasy that will never happen.
But do keep in mind that DIY wallpaper idea I mentioned. Ain’t no revenge like revenge glimpsed from a seated position.