Yesterday, I got the sweetest and kindest, most encouraging rejection letter ever. However, I’ve received my fair share of ‘not what we are looking for’ form rejections. When I first started out as a writer, every rejection hit like an arrow to my heart. These days, I have learnt several useful copy mechanisms.
1/ They are not rejecting you as a person or as a writer. They are just rejecting the item you submitted. This could be for a multitude of reasons, and most of them don’t reflect on your ability to write or you as a person. They might have just published a similar piece. They might have limited space and just can’t publish everything they like. Yes … you might have sweated blood over that story, and chances are that they are aware of that and sympathetic, but circumstances just haven’t worked in your favour.
2/ Don’t Get Angry and let it Fester. Anger can be a useful emotion if you use it to fuel your writing ambitions. For example: “Okay. I will find a new home for this manuscript. That’ll show them,” is a fine use of anger. Don’t send an angry email or letter off to the publisher/editor. Not only is this unprofessional behaviour, it is alienating a person(s) who has been kind enough to read and evaluate your work. And don’t turn your anger against yourself, and think “That’s it. I give up.” That is the very last thing that a publisher or editor wanted to achieve.
3/ Go Write Something New. Never hang all your hopes on just one story or manuscript. Personally, I always have a few projects on the go. It spreads both the joy and the pain. And I’m not defined by just one story. In fact, I generally spend the ‘waiting’ time between submission and hearing back working on other projects.
4/ Celebrate your Achievement! You have taken the risk to send something off. You didn’t just hide your work away in your files. Even a rejection is a sign of you working towards your career ambitions. You learn something from every story, and every rejection. You are a mile ahead of those people who just talk about writing, as your stuff is out there in the big world!
5/ You are NOT Alone. Even the best and most professional writers in the world get a rejection once in a while. I’m lucky, I’ve worked in sales jobs where rejection happened all day, every day, and developed a thick skin. You might not have that experience, but you can still take comfort in knowing rejection is a part of every writer’s profession life.
And there is always chocolate…