“I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but to me it’s an illusion. Any fear is an illusion. You think something is standing in your way, but nothing is there – only an opportunity to do your best and gain some success.”
As in any creative field, we writers receive a fair share of rejection. It may come in the form of a negative or lukewarm Amazon review, a turn down from a literary agent, or a “no thanks” letter from a literary journal — or even just silence.
Being rejected is never a picnic, but perspective helps. Sometimes it simply means that a piece you wrote wasn’t a particular editor’s cup of tea or that it needs fine-tuning — not that it doesn’t have inherent value. In “Dealing with (and learning from) Rejection” (writeforkids.org), author Dr. Suzanne E. Henshon offered helpful tips we can all use:
Remember you’re not alone: J.K. Rowling, Madeleine L’Engle, and Beatrix Potter also experienced buckets of rejection — and all went on to enjoy enormous literary success. Newbery Medal winner Phyllis Reynolds Naylor received 10,000 (that’s right!) rejections before she penned her award-winning children’s novel, “Shiloh.”
Remember, it’s subjective: A story that’s rejected by one editor one day can be accepted the next by another editor. That’s why it’s important not to take a turn down personally. Finding the right home for your work can take time — persistence and patience are key. If one source turns you down, find another. NO = Next Opportunity.
Remember to go for the gold: Somewhere in the midst of your rejection, there are nuggets of gold — information you can use to make your work better and to improve your chances of success. Once you’ve put your work away for a while, take an objective look at it. Are there flaws you didn’t see that need to be fixed? Are you connecting with readers?
Remember, there’s more than one path: A sobering statistic — only 1% of all writers are published by traditional publishers. Independent publishing is constantly evolving — this options lets you bypass the submission process and gives you total control over your work.
Remember, craft counts: Sometimes early manuscripts are just skill-building exercises — pieces that might not be publishable, but stepping stones to stronger work. If a piece is rejected, don’t dwell on it — keep moving and improving. Fine-tune it as needed, but also keep developing fresh new work and using what you’ve learned to hone your craft. The more you write, the better you’ll write.
Great advice to keep in mind as I launch into my submissions stage. Write on!