The Sweet Smell of Rejection

Rejection is awful and unfortunately, life as a writer is plagued with rejection.

The dreaded R word can feel much like being kicked in the stomach.  You might vow never to write so much as a shopping list again; you might torture yourself and read the rejection over and over; you might cry, get grumpy or slump into low self-esteem and depression.  It’s all understandable.  You spent weeks, months or even years planning, writing and editing your story.  You’re bound to be upset.


Seriously, we need to get over it.  Learn from the experience.  Not every story is going to be right for every publication.   Dust your MS off, and sub again.  The story might need work, it might not be ‘good enough’.  You might have even been told that.  (I have. Ouch).  So what?  You can give up and sulk or decide to make yourself and your writing better for next time.  On the positive side, you’ve written something,  you’re already one step ahead of many.

For me, writing isn’t all about being published.  I write anyway.  Being published is just a nice little perk.  Yes, when I finish my novel, I want to be published.  I don’t think there could be anything better than seeing my name on a pretty little cover, but I know I’d still write even if there was no chance of this happening.

Also, you should take time to revel in your success.  A few weeks ago I got one story accepted and one rejected on the same day.  Guess which one I dwelled on?  Yep, the rejection.  Any success,whether it’s publication or a really nice comment on your blog should be relished.  You earned it.  So, bask in your success,  however small it may seem and when the going gets tough, look back and focus on these positives

I’m no mathematician as my D in GCSE Maths will attest, but the law of averages (or something) says that the more you submit, the more likely it is you’ll get the ‘yes’ you’re looking for.  This is a particular downfall for me, as I never think my writing stands a chance in hell of being accepted.  Keep at it though.  As my (and probably your) grandma used to say ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’

So, next time a rejection letter pops into your inbox or through your letter box, don’t worry about it.  See it as an opportunity.  I know it’s sometimes easier said than done.  Just remember it’s the story that was rejected, not you.   Yeah, that never makes me feel much better, either.

I’m not saying rejection isn’t going to sting every time, because it probably will.  Just try to make the most of it.

Need a little added comfort?  take heart from these famous authors who also battled with rejections:

Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ was rejected a dozen times before being published.  William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ was rejected twenty times and JK Rowling was rejected by twelve publishing houses before Harry Potter was published.  It took Agatha Christie four years to get a publishing contract whilst poet Gertrude Stein wrote and submitted poems for twenty-two years before being accepted.

So, take heart keep your chin up and keep writing!

3 thoughts on “The Sweet Smell of Rejection

  1. This is such a great post! I have not gotten to the rejection stage, er I mean submission stage yet with the novel I am working on, but I am bracing for the rejections already.

    They say you should look at each rejection as getting one step closer to being published.

    I hope I can stay as positive as you when I get there.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. A writer friend of mine told me she thinks she’s not working hard enough when she only gets three rejections in a week. 🙂 Great attitude! Thanks for the post.

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