It happens to everyone at some point in their writing life.
This year, I've been trying some new things. I'm challenging myself in new directions. So, rejection has been happening and I still keep on writing and I keep on sending out queries for short stories, novels, and poems, and I'm still okay.
But rejection stings.
On some days, I might struggle for a minute or two (or sometimes a few hours) with an icky, insecure worry that maybe all of my work sucks. I have had moments where I've looked at the subject line of an e-mail in my inbox and just not opened it for a few minutes.
I have to remind myself that my work is still okay, that it's not for everyone, but there is a market for it. I have to find ways to stay positive.
I know I'm not the only one who struggles with rejection. I've read posts from fellow writers who are struggling with it.
While preparing for this article, I also found a post by Anne R. Allen entitled: "Rejection: Why It Feels So Awful and 7 Ways to Heal the Hurt." It contains information from a psychological study on rejection.
So, the hurt from rejection happens to many of us and it is real. But to succeed as writers, we still need to move forward and keep writing, keep submitting our work, and keep ourselves positive.
How do we do that?
I would like to say I'm all wise and knowing, but I'm not, so I asked for some help from some fellow writers via e-mail, Instagram, and Twitter. Here's what we came up with:
Tips for Staying Positive After a Rejection
Take a deep breath, take a walk, pray, go outside and look up.
Find your favorite part of your story, novel, or poem, and read it again.
Look up stories of famous authors who were rejected multiple times before making it. If they could survive the storm of rejection, so can we!
- Tyrean Martinson - author, teacher, and IWSG Admin
Remember, it’s not personal – it’s business. Don’t let your ego take a hit.
- L. Diane Wolfe - author, publisher, and IWSG Admin
If I’m lucky enough to get some feedback with the rejection, I pay attention to it. If the reject is simply a no, I check that submission as unsuccessful and try again. If I get several rejections for the same piece; then I know I need to work on it, and I go through it again before sending it off to a keen-eyed editor. Repeat the process.
- C. Lee Mckenzie - author and IWSG Admin
Stephen King wrote in On Writing that he put a roofing nail in the wall and was going to quit once it filled with rejections. Once it was full, he added another nail. Knowing rejection is part of the process keeps me from getting too disappointed. Learn from the no and keep going.
- Elizabeth Seckman - author and IWSG Admin
In the days of snail-mail, I used to tape rejection slips to the wall until it became quite shaggy with them. I had a series of favorites from Gordon Lish.
And - Have the next market you're going to send the piece to already lined up and ready to go.
- Cat Rambo on Twitter - author, editor, teacher, and President of the SFWA
And remember that the rejections is from ONE person and not the whole world!!!
- Soulla Christodoulou @soullasays on Instagram - author, blogger
And, this last thought for staying positive- find a community. We can share our insecurities. We can encourage one another. That's what IWSG is all about.