It seems as though everyone has some kind of story about their writing being rejected. Some of them are inspirational, some not so very much, and some are just simply advice to make it not sting so badly.
While I can’t say that this blog post will be inspirational, I do hope it will have some advice and good cheer for anyone who’s had their work rejected lately. So, here’s a few things I’ve learned from receiving rejection letters.
They Show That You Tried.
I’ve personally received six rejections so far. They’re hanging on a wall alongside my NaNoWriMo participation stickers and Winner poster from CampNaNoWriMo in April. Some of the rejections are form letters and some are personalized, but they all show the same things that the NaNoWriMo swag does.
They show that I tried. Each of those letters represents a small leap of faith, a modicum of belief in my own abilities as a writer. They show that I haven’t given up yet.
They Can Be A Learning Experience
One rejection letter that I got was from a podcast. They were super nice, but explained that my work just wasn’t what they were looking for. I felt crushed! I’d thought my story would be perfect for a podcast.
But, then, I read it aloud. It felt too jerky, I realized, and there were some words that were too long to say properly. I learned more about a story’s flow from that single rejection letter than I did from all of my reading about writing.
I also make sure to read my work aloud now.
They Show That You’re Serious About This Writing Thing
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a kid. Unfortunately, a lot of the people in my life didn’t see things that way. Family, friends, and significant others all tried to talk me out of it at one point or another. They argued that I wouldn’t have anything to show for my writing.
But they were wrong.
I have rejection letters.
Rejection letters are something that every professional writer deals with. Therefore, by getting rejection letters, I’m one step closer to being a professional writer. It’s not the most sound logic in the world, but I like to think of every letter I receive as being a stepping stone to my dream.
They Hurt…A Lot
Now, I’m not trying to make you think that you should be cheering every time you get a new rejection.
Don’t get me wrong.
It hurts to put your work out there and be told that it isn’t good enough. When I got my first one, it felt like someone sucker-punched me in the gut and just left their fist there for a few days. But, that’s why rejection letters are important. Writing is a tough business and writers have to be tough on their own work in order to become better. Which leads me to my final point…
They’re About Your Writing, Not You
It’s easy to equate your writing with yourself. You poured a lot of time, emotion, and sweat into those pages! But, the hard truth of it is, being rejected is not about you, or me, or anyone. For first time writers, the editors and readers mainly just glance at the name and then check the story. If the story isn’t up to snuff, your name is soon forgotten.
Because, in the end, they only care about the story.
Sometimes, the most important thing a rejection letter can be is a gauge of how far you’ve come. For me, the rejections I received contained a lot of good advice and made me realize that my writing level is still somewhere in the apprentice category, which is a great thing for a writer to know.
Rejection, like everything else in writing, is a learning experience.
What about you? Have you had any experiences with your writing being rejected? Let me know in the comments!