I absolutely remember that list! I think I had joined Medium in Feb of last year and the piece you featured was the first of mine to make any sort of a dent. Pretty sure your list was the first time anyone I wasn’t related to endorsed my writing. I’m only 1% joking about that.
In terms of RAZED rejections, we reject A LOT of pieces. There are some writers who’ve been rejected 3–6 times this past year alone. And obviously our rejection / acceptance rates are nothing compared to McSweeneys or Daily Shouts.
About rejection: one thing my current piece doesn’t make clear (but my 2015 Year in Review piece does) is that I work in a creative field and as a copywriter and creative director I’ve been paid to write for decades. Yes, it’s totally different writing. BUT I will say that I have years and years of daily experience 1) writing shit I don’t care about but having to write anyway 2) writing stuff I do care about then watching it get killed right in front of my face 3) fielding regular criticism about my work from a variety of people, some I respected and some oh-ho-boy I did not and 4) getting really, really used to rejection. I’ve been meaning to write a piece about this because I’ve come to appreciate how all of my experience in what I assumed wasn’t “real” writing have actually translated shockingly well in terms of allowing me to have a hard core work ethic and field rejections with barely a shrug now. Rejection sucks, don’t get me wrong, but that decades-long training ground apparently helped me build up a Teflon outer shell. Yeah, I’ll be bummed when a piece gets rejected. But within 60 seconds I’ve moved on and tried to figure out why it was rejected, where it could maybe go next, or just forget about it and move on to a new thing.
This all to say, I think this piece can come off like “I wrote on the internet for a year and then magic happened!” when in reality I’ve been writing since I was about 7 or 8 (I’m 48 now) and writing has been my career almost my entire adult life. I’m discovering it’s less about the type of writing I was doing before and more about—1) this clearly has always been my passion, even when I didn’t know it. Even when I begged my best friend to write my essay for my college application because I didn’t think I was smart enough to do it myself (!!!), 2) I learned skills that I never thought would translate to pursuing my own non-commercial writing but turns out they do. BIGLY., and 3) working in advertising and branding, I’ve had A LOT of experience learning about what it takes to stand out. I learned how to develop my own voice and fortunately the people I worked for never beat it out of me, they encouraged the weirdness and the emotion of it.
To be sure, there is luck involved. I’ve been fortunate to make career decisions that placed me elbow-to-elbow with some incredibly creative people who inform my path to this very day. But I find that women are the first to say “I’m so lucky!” and men are the first to say “I deserve it, I worked hard.” For me, I recognize the stroke of good fortune that this past year has involved—how can I not? But I think it’s also important to recognize and appreciate that cumulative experience, hard work, and talent all played a significant role in how this year unfolded.
In concluding this novel, thank you so much for all of your support from early on. Head into 2017 with full force! There is quite literally no reason not to.
Cheers (I seriously just poured Bailey’s in my coffee so that’s not just a British-y sign off)!