"Nine hundred rejections, you say?"
The writer squirmed. Somehow, the couch wasn't comfortable. And was there something more than a twinkle in the bearded man's eye? "About that, yes."
"Including iUniverse and PublishAmerica?"
The writer nodded.
"Well," the psychiatrist said, "it seems to me that your problem is fear of success."
The writer's eyes opened wide. "What do you mean?"
"I mean that you have fallen into a routine," said the psychiatrist, "one that you are afraid to change. You send out your query or your sample chapters, you know what to expect - it is rejection, but you know what to expect. Now, if you broke that routine - if you sought success in another sphere of endeavour - you would lose that comforting familiarity ... you would risk inviting success into your life."
The writer frowned. "But the only other thing I know about is sewage tunnels."
"Aha!" The psychiatrist leaned forward. "Now the psychosexual motif becomes apparent. You fear venturing into small enclosed spaces, yes? Because you fear sexual inadequacy! This is why you write, to show you have, as they say, lead in your pencil? The 950,000 word fantasy epic is so long, because you feel short in other ways? My friend, you must face this fear and overcome it, if you are to be happy. Put the manuscript aside, and take a job in sewage!"
The writer thought. "It makes a kind of sense ... and I know they're hiring ... All right. I'll try it."
After the writer had gone, the psychiatrist dialed a number. "Cousin Evil?" he said. "Yes, this is me ... I called to report another success. One more wannabe who will darken your slush pile no more. No need for thanks, just send the usual fee."