I’m not a serious athlete. I have no goals to become a professional athlete, but like many other people who have no intention of going pro, I have run races. Races I had no chance of winning, even split out to a minute degree of age categories.

But I can finish.

I’ve run 5Ks, 10Ks and one half marathon. I finished each one.

Sure, I puked after that 5K in Nashville, when I was completely dehydrated the morning after a travel day. I had to walk parts of the half marathon after starting out way too fast (yes, a 9 minute mile is too fast for me). My last 10K was a parade of pain that put me on the path to seriously rehabilitating my ilio-tibial band issue (a two year odyssey).

But I finished every race that I started.

Six months ago I set myself a goal. I decided that since I knew I could write stories that could get rejected, I would set about to collect rejections. The idea was to force myself to write more, submit more and desensitize myself to the inevitable rejection.

I submitted a total of eight times in that period, gathering eight rejections. I remain 69 rejections away from my goal of 100.

I could say that I have failed. After all, I have nowhere near the hundred rejections I was seeking. That could just be the end of that. I didn’t write enough, and I let myself get discouraged by the rejections.

It’s funny, most of the rejections were form rejections, but the one that was a bit more personalized bugged me more. Not because it commented directly on my work, but because it directed me to read the publication to which I was submitting. I do want to get a sense of what they like to publish, but I also don’t want to be sending them more of what they’ve already published.

Be original!

But also be like these other stories that fit our aesthetic!

Figure out our aesthetic by buying our magazine and reading what we’ve published.

That’ll be $15.

Ahem. I know that I did not spend as much time writing fiction as I wanted to over the summer. Part of that was due to writing other things, especially the blog entries on backpacking. Part of it was due to spending a lot of time backpacking, which I wouldn’t trade. I know I have to work on the craft of writing stories, and that I also have to work on my own belief in my ability to do so.

100 rejections is a longer race than I thought it would be, but I intend to finish. However long it takes.

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