How to Deal with Rejection as a Writer

You sweat over a piece of writing. You pour your heart and soul into pages and pages of words. You comb through every last little comma until you’re certain it’s perfect. Then you send your baby out into the world, hoping it will find its home somewhere.

And then, your baby is turned away, your heart broken and your spirit crushed. Rejection is ugly and very real. But, as a writer, rejection does have its uses and often, we can learn a great deal from rejection.

Rejection Means You’re Doing It

The writer who has never known rejection is a writer who’s work has never seen the light of day. Sure, there are writers who perhaps write only for themselves; and that’s part of why we do it, isn’t it? We love to surround ourselves with worlds of words and see how beautiful we can make them.

But if you are wanting to get published, rejection comes with the territory. And as much as it stings, it’s proof that you are brave enough to put it out there.

Rejection is Part of the Game

Publishing is a business. Yes, I want to believe that writing is art and only the best of the best rise to the top like cream. But I’m learning that no matter how beautifully I construct a story or poem, if there is no market, it won’t sell.

Wanting to be a writer means you will have to deal with rejection as a part of the deal. Doctors and nurses deal with blood and bodily fluids as part of their career. Writers deal with rejection. It’s a part of the package.

Rejection Can Offer Insight and Learning Opportunities

I like to view rejections as learning opportunities. Not only do they make me all the more determined to work on the craft and get better, but they can give insight into what I’m doing wrong.

Some rejections come with personal notes: critiques, encouragements, or suggestions. These are pure gold! I pay attention to any feedback I get and try to learn from it. Some rejections are quick and cold; this is a sign that my piece definitely wasn’t working. Yeah, it hurts, but even that is a lesson for me: don’t submit garbage! Keeping fine-tuning it until it’s the absolute best it can be!

Rejection is a Rite of Passage

If you listen to any published author from Shel Silverstein to J. K. Rowling to Steven King, they all share stories of horrible rejections they’ve faced. It finally dawned on me that every writer has to accumulate a certain number of rejections before they can see their work in print. It’s a writer’s rite of passage.

Think about it, what if you knew that you needed to get a least 100 rejections before you could be published? You’d work on acquiring those rejection slips, right? They’re a stepping stone in your writing career and your growth as an author! Not a sign of failure!

It’s never going to feel good, but the only way to avoid rejection is to stop writing. That’s simply not an option. Don’t let the rejection slips, form letters, and uninterested well-wishes stop you.

-Cathryn

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