No Niblet for You

I am actually required by law to write a post here at least every month. The judge who imposed my stint as a blogger was very clear that failure to do so would violate my parole and necessitate me being sent to the poky for many many years for crimes against nature (I violated the speed of light). Be that as it may, of late everything I write feels lame. I read it and I think, “There is no one the world that would like to read this.” It’s not that my ability has evaporated (I hope), but I my perception of ability at times slides away. Suddenly everything I do is viewed through a lens of lameness. A bout of failures usually precipitates this. In academic journals acceptance rates hover at around 20% on exceptionally bright and sunny days. That means that rejections are the norm and you are likely spend vast energies of labor and hope only to find yourself at the realization that, it’s oh no burned again. In creative publishing I know it drops below 1%. Rejection is a way of life.

Moreover, I wasn’t nominated for a Niblet, this year. While the Niblets are not the end-all mark of blogging excellence, there is something unsettling in realizing that nothing I’ve written was remembered or marked as notable. Plus, I like the Niblets. I find them fun. That my energies have not produced anything memorable this year adds to a sense of abject lameness.

When these rejections pile up in mounds so high that to climb them requires technical gear to make the accent, I suddenly go through periods when I cannot help but feel forsaken of talent and blessed with mediocrity. I feel the rejection so clearly that I wonder why I should even go though the motions of trying and I think, “Why not save myself and the world the bother?” I become lamified with a lameness that lames me all the way down: lamification.

How do you handle rejection?

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16 Responses to No Niblet for You

  1. Tim says:

    Your witch story on BCC definitely deserved at least a nomination for something.
    Science/Mormon posts are some of my favorite, and I usually enjoy your posts and your comments on places like BCC.
    I think doing posts for BCC is a pretty big accomplishment. Niblets? Not so much.

  2. Mark says:

    I handle rejection by feeling crappy… usually it only lasts a few days, sometimes just a week or two if it’s really bad. I notice with time that I don’t feel so much sense of rejection the next time a disappointment happens, at least until the stakes are higher and then the same feeling comes back, in a cycle of rejection, toughening up, rejection, toughening up, etc etc.

    Anyway, I know you weren’t fishing for praise or compliments, but really, I read all your posts and they seriously influence the way I think. And I know you didn’t write it this year, but “A Short Stay in Hell” is one of the best books I’ve read in a while – I have given 4 copies to friends/family as presents, and I don’t do that often.

    Anyhow, ultimately only you can deal with that feeling of lameness, but I agree with the commentor above – “Niblets? Not so much.”

  3. Stan says:

    One my heroes goes through the pressure of performing to large crouds night after night and trying to live up to the expectation of being “the best”. His mantra is “Just don’t suck”. You don’t suck.

  4. steveP says:

    Wow, you guys just made my day. And Mark! Wow. Your reading my book and passing it along really made my week!!! Thank you. Much.

  5. Jared* says:

    Steve, until you came along I had never been nominated for a Niblet. (Thanks!) And I’ve been blogging for 5 years!

    Now I feel guilty for not having returned the favor. Although, in all selfishness, it would only have added to the number of blogs that are clobbering me. However, in my defense, I really didn’t think you would need my help!

    Next year let’s lobby for a science category. Then we can nominate each other and unintentionally end up in a blogging cage match. I think you’ll come out of that feeling a sense of pride, even if it’s tempered by the simultaneous hollow feeling of having beaten someone weaker than you.

    I agree with Tim. At least BCC didn’t ask you to do some guest posts and then later dump them. (In fairness, I think they dumped all of their guest posts to that point. So I prefer to think it wasn’t technically rejection.) And at least you weren’t suddenly sent to the bottom of MA after having been in a more prominent spot for years.

    OK, so now I’m starting to feel depressed. (That’s what you wanted, isn’t it? I hope you’re happy.)

    How do I handle rejection? I remember that SteveP still seems to like my blog.

  6. SteveP says:

    Jared* it’s true I love your blog! I can’t tell you how many things I see there for the first time and your analyses are always spot on. I’ve been referring people right and left to your analysis of the Global Warming emails. You should have won a Niblet for that alone!

    Keep up what your doing. You are one of the most important blogs out there, especially when there are so many suspicions about science in our culture. Well done! Well done indeed.

  7. Tracy M says:

    You KNOW how I feel about you. So go back and read that post. You are awesome. The Niblets are nada. I won last year and didn’t even get a button for the blog. Bah…

  8. Science blogs are a specialized subfield (like history, which has had its own category, and philosophy which so far hasn’t) that get lost in the tsunami of political and social issue blogs. I read both you and Jared*, and whatever you write is very often the first I’ve heard of some issue or idea, which doesn’t exactly give me the confidence to comment. As far as I’m concerned, you haven’t been rejected, you’ve been intimidating!

    Maybe I should just type “Hi” once in a while so you’ll know who one of your silent readers is.

  9. Jared* says:

    Well that’s mighty nice of you to say, Steve. I’m glad to have a co-warrior to help fight the fight. Keep up the great work!

  10. peckhive says:

    Thanks Tracy and Ardis you are both reason enough to keep writing! (And both rightly Niblet nominees! so go vote people.)

  11. Natalie says:

    I also enjoy the science writing. Think about science (and scifi) has been the single biggest thing to expand my religious views this year. I agree that it deserves its own category.

  12. Ben Pratt says:

    Time for an injection of Awesome Sauce:

    It is my career aspiration to work in the same college as you, Steve. Keep it up.

  13. S.Faux says:


    I was nominated, but I would have rather been passed over. It is a little embarrassing to be at the bottom with 2 votes. At least you have the excuse of being intimidating. What is my excuse?

    Fortunately, I write for my own pleasure, and I don’t give a d_m_ (sorry) what others think.

    So, I say to you, please keep posting on evolution, etc.

    You are also invited to guest post on Mormon Insights on the topic of consciousness. You’d be welcome to double post. No obligation.

    Anyway, we love you and need you.

  14. Cap says:

    Yesterday I received two rejections in the mail for a short story I had submitted. When these rejection letters first started coming in I was hurt. But knowing the likely hood of getting published I quickly put it aside and moved on. (In my brain I was still disappointed). But know… When I get these it’s exciting. I have decided to keep all rejection letters. Collect them if you will. And so now when I get them I put them in a nice folder to see how many I can get.

    Somewhat weird, I know, but it’s now exciting to get rejected.

  15. Gustav375 says:

    I approve of all your blogs that i have read. I like how they make me think. At least the fear of rejection doesn’t stop you from writing. For most people it would and a lot of creative idea’s are lost in that fear. Even when they try to write something new there’s that sense that someone’s going to judge it harshly so they write under a fake name (see name above).

  16. SteveP says:

    Ben, cap and Gustav375 your support means the world to me.

    S. Faux you just flat out rock. I’ve been following your excellent posts on consciousness over there (I haven’t said anything because I have too much to say and I’m in one of those crunch times, and to say it right I have to develop it . . . but in short you are doing a killer job over there and what a great discussion! Keep it up and I’ll try to join in soon.)

    I love your posts and the variety you do so don’t feel bad for the Niblet showing. You’ve got a great following so keep it up.

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