SIXTY-SECOND SUB TIPS: Coping with Rejection

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.


♦ 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.