Rejection is an ugly part of the business, but it’s going to happen no matter what you do or how awesome your work is. If you’re a writer, it’s best to develop a thick skin—get over that disappointment quickly, and turn around and send the piece someplace else. But if you’re really upset about a particular rejection—and it happens every once in a while, no matter how many hundreds you’ve received in your career—here are some coping methods we’ve found that really work.
TIPS FOR COPING WITH REJECTION
♦ Call and writing friend and bitch—be sure to explain why this particular rejection is bothering you so much. Did you tailor the story specifically for this market, for example?
♦ Treat yourself—DVD you want? Book you want? Game, dress, waffle maker?
♦ Pick twenty other places to send the story to.
♦ Have your favorite beverage/snack/meal/dessert.
♦ Go out to dinner, or to the movies—something that’s immersive and distracting.
♦ Break/destroy something if you’re angry (you’ve probably got junk around the house you’ve been meaning to chuck anyway).
♦ Burn your rejection letter.
♦ Do some type of physical activity—go for a jog, swim, walk, or whatever you like to do.
♦ Start working on a non-writing project, one that will show progress, such as cleaning your house, making a scrapbook, putting together that model you’ve always wanted to finish.
♦ Share all around; you’ll gain lots of sympathetic support. However, IF YOU NEED TO PUT SOMETHING ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BE SURE IT’S APPROPRIATE. Here are just about the ONLY appropriate ways to phrase it for social media:
“I just got a rejection letter. Bummed!”
“I just got a rejection letter from a market I was hoping to get into. Back to the drawing board!”
You really have to watch what you post on social media. Editors talk, just like writers talk. You don’t want to get yourself black-balled. If you want to be nasty—it’s fine, we’ve all done it—do it privately and with people you trust.
♦ Keep in mind that as much as writers don’t like getting rejections, editors don’t like sending them—with few exceptions, most editors were or are writers, too, and we know how it feels to be on the other side of the desk. No one takes glee in telling a writer “no thank you.” The worst part of the job is knowing you’re going to make someone feel bad or turn their day into a disappointment at best, crush their hopes and dreams at worst. Truly, it’s not much fun for editors, either.
11 thoughts on “SIXTY-SECOND SUB TIPS: Coping with Rejection”
I hope people don’t share rejections in a negative way on social media! But maybe people Tweet before they think. Actually, I HAVE seen some Tweet-before-you-think posts!
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Hi Priscilla! Sadly, YES, I have seen some. I haven’t seen it much because my writing friends are very professional, but I have definitely seen it in groups and things where I don’t necessarily know people–like those open submission FB groups and such. And I know I see stuff on Twitter pop up once in a while. I think it’s too easy to do it without thinking, because you’re on a computer and you’re not in a room full of people face to face and it feels so … anonymous.
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Hi It hurts when you get a rejection letter but when it knocks me down I get up and brush myself off. I feel as long as I can write there is still hope.
Yes, Eunice!! THIS!!! I get bummed too and this is the right attitude!! Thank you for reading our blog! 🙂🙂 Kristi
I have done what you suggest about rejections, I started 30 years ago but, have a few short stories published and one book and another nearly there
Nice to hear from you
That’s GREAT Lew! Persistence pays off–I have ONE book published and boy I haven’t been able to write a second. Keep up the good work. So good to hear from you and thank you for reading our blog!! 🙂 Kristi
I started writing short stories about 25 years ago. I have had many rejections. I have a few short stories published, have on book published an working on another. I am 86 and live in Canada
Thanks for your comforting rejection thoughts.
Thank you, Lew. Wow. 35 years — yes, I saw in another post you said you’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been doing this about 30, and I’m in the same boat. I have some stories published, one book, but I keep writing. What’s funny is, I’m most proud of my rejection slips. I have a bunch from when we used to get them in the postal mail, and some are handwritten. I don’t know about you, but I miss those days. And 86 — damn. I hope I can still write when I’m 86. 🙂 Kristi
Ah, the art of rejecting while encouraging. Some editors have the knack of launching an author’s career by taking the extra time to share a suggestion that could have turned the rejection into acceptance. Thanks for the list, Kristi!
Hi Grant at Tame Your Book! Yup — every once in a while, that happens. I can’t say it’s happened to me, but I know it does. 🙂 Thank you for reading our blog and sharing your thoughts! — Kristi
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(I’m a writer, too).
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