Let’s face it, if you are a writer, you WILL be rejected at least once in your life time… and if you are LUCKY, you will be rejected several times. Yes, you read it right, I said if you are lucky.
Being rejected is the first step to becoming a better writer.
Being rejected means you actually submitted something to someone to read, that wasn’t related to you, or part of your writing group. Good for you! This means you are ready for the next level. Becoming a writer, or better yet, becoming a published author.
Believe me, when I say, my world completely stopped for me for an entire hour after receiving my first rejection. Maybe longer? Frozen in time, I just sat in my office chair and stared at my bookshelf, replaying every word the agent typed within her rejection letter addressed to me. The phrases echoed off the bookshelf:
… “upon review I was not as captured by the execution as I had hoped to be.”
… “I found the opening chapters to be lacking the action and descriptors that make for a strong showing of emotions that build a character and world.”
… “For now the story did not work for me, in that I did not feel compelled to want to read more.”
Thoughts were scrolling through my head. My writing does suck. Am I wasting my time?My best friend said it was awesome. What the hell? Now, I’m just embarrassed. I wish I didn’t send that out. What was I thinking?
Now, I could go on and on, telling you about my negative feelings towards my writing, towards my “almost agent”, but I won’t. You get the idea. I was devastated. Truthfully, I didn’t write another word for over 30 days. I gave up. In my head, I was not a writer.
Then, I spilled the beans of being rejected to my writing group. They laughed at me. They told me all about all the rejection letters they have received over the years. “RELAX”, they said. “It happens to the best of us. Just keep writing and things will get better. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected 12 times before she was published, and they told her not to quit her day job. Look at her now! One of the most richest and well-known authors in the world.”
So, the night started with the hanging of my head in defeat, but it quickly became a night of inspiration with my writing friends. It was a game changer. I. Am. A. Writer.
Here are 10 Ways to Cope With a Rejection Letter
- Write something… ANYTHING… every day, and pretend no one will read it but you. Get into a new routine and form a habit of writing consistently.
- Remind yourself, every author experiences rejection. You. Are. Not. Alone.
- Submit your writing more often. Yes, you may get rejected more, but you can’t be published, if you don’t take the chance and submit something.
- Learn and study the craft of writing. Admit you do not know everything there is to know about the craft. Crave it. Be a sponge and take it all in.
- Read. Read often. Read within your favourite genre, so you will know what is already out there. Read outside your genre to focus on the writing that inspires you and to pinpoint the writing that you think sucks. Yes, some authors get published and you will think it is complete crap… BUT they are published. It will provide you with encouragement.
- Attend writing workshops, conferences and writing group meetings to not only learn more about writing, but to network with other writers. Every pathway to being published is different. Learn from others.
- Enter writing contests, especially the contests that are FREE. You may WIN! Reminder: You can’t win if you don’t submit.
- Having something finally accepted, after receiving rejections by the handful, will make the acceptance even sweeter in the end! You earned it. Celebrate.
- Rejection has great value. You will be determined to prove you can be an author. You will do this. Keep trying. Be motivated to do more.
- Eat chocolate. It always help you feel better.
Something to read to make you smile:
- Carrie by Stephen King – over 30 rejections
- Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 38 rejections
- A Time to Kill by John Grisham – 45 rejections
- John Creasy, author of 564 mystery novels – 743 rejections before publishing his first book
- Ray Bradbury, author of over 100 science fiction novels and stories – around 800 rejections before selling his first story
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – rejected so universally the author decided to self-publish the book
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