Don’t reject rejection

first_transparent[1]My writing once won a prize! It was given as part of our Non-Fiction class during my Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing many years ago. Drum roll, please – it was the least-glamorous and most-ironical of prizes – the one for most rejections in one year!

I can’t recall how many rejection letters it took to win the prize (maybe ten?), but the lecturer, Nadine, felt I’d achieved one of the subject’s aims – to send my writing out there and keep trying. I also got a couple of articles published during the year, and a couple more the following year, all from writing produced in that class, so it paid off!

It was an extremely good lesson in one of the main obstacles of most writers’ lives. If you write for others, and want to connect with others, then you need to get your work out there. And unless you put in the extra grunt of building up a blog that attracts readers, you will need to approach other people to publish your writing.

thumb-down-silhouette[1]Which means risking rejection. Almost certain rejection. Ouch.

If you’re like so many writers – shy, retiring (ie: living in your own head) and uncertain of your own work – then this will be anathema to your very soul. It’s on a par with the pain of rejection by romantic partners!

But getting lots of rejections can inure you to the pain (almost). And then there are the rejections that come with useful comments – they are like pure gold! It means the rejecter saw enough to make the time and effort to give you a few words on why they thought it didn’t work.

I had written a short story that started as a writing exercise, but I had really grown to love it. So far it’s been rejected by several competitions and magazines. The last magazine took quite a while to reject it, but mentioned that it didn’t quite feel ready, to them.

That convinced me to pay for an editor’s services. I knew the story had moved my friends who’d read it, but something obviously just wasn’t working for the professionals. I’d looked at the story for so long, I could not put my finger on what that was.

Sure enough, the editor came back with some wonderful comments, pointing out several things that could be adjusted. I still had to do the hard work to fix it, of course, but her comments on what DID work confirmed that it was a story worth fighting for.

I wish I could tell you it’s about to be published, but I’m still playing with it – there’s one or two more things to work on first! But I’m excited about its possibilities – and I’m prepared for the next round of rejections. It could even move up the ranks, and at least get a place in a competition, which would get it out there for more people to read.

Thumbs%20Up[1]Rejection is surely one of the most talked-about, written-about subjects in writing, but it doesn’t matter. You can read this blog or reject it – what matters is that it is written and out there!

About carolynswriting

Author, Menagerie Manager, 9-5er. Love my writing, my family and other animals, my friends, and even my job :)
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8 Responses to Don’t reject rejection

  1. colinandray says:

    Excellent article as it covers a number of important areas:
    A friends review of your work may not be totally impartial.
    Critiquing effectively is not only pointing out the negatives, but also the positives. i.e. You can tell me what does not work for you, but also tell me what does. I need to understand the difference.
    Rejection and negativity are opinions based on a persons perspective and nothing more.
    If an idea is worth writing about, it is (should be by default) worth noting critiques and fine tuning accordingly. If your goal of writing is to inform/entertain others, then spending many hours changing, re-writing etc. is important so as your work reaches others. To blindly publish a work, based solely on your own thoughts about it, serves no purpose if it does not reach your target audience.
    Why am I interested in this? Because I currently have a book being critiqued for the 4th time. It has had two major rewrites and, hopefully, will be ready to investigate publishing/marketing options soon. The book took about 6 months to write, and about the same time (so far) to edit etc. To answer the assumed inevitable question, it is called “A Dog’s Life?” (A story about me and him) – and focuses on my canine buddy Ray during his first 18 months with me. The time after that is currently covered by our (Ray and I) Blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Colin! Happy it provided some interest – while friends’ reads are great, they (usually) find it hard to provide helpful criticism. They’re not good for getting used to rejection! Good luck with your book, it sounds like Ray has inspired your creative juices 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is funny how enough rejections make even a few nice words all that much better!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nadine Cresswell-Myatt says:

    I am actually quite proud to be the Nadine mentioned. I knew you had a writer insider you Carolyn and ironically it is rejection slips that pave the way to a writer’s success.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Ripping off the band-aid | Carolyn's Writing

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