A writer’s guide to rejecting rejection

“It’s a fact of life: In the field of writing, rejection is part of the job. It’s as much a part of our writing lives as buying replacement ink cartridges. When our work is rejected, it’s easy to assume it marks the end of the road for that particular work. But not if you can learn to reject rejection. You simply need to find a new route to your destination of acceptance. Sometimes that route isn’t the one you anticipated, but as any traveler knows, if you prepare for every eventuality, you have a better chance of reaching your destination. The following steps can help you adjust to rejection and send it on its way.

Know your next market.

When someone rejects your writing, it is only one person’s judgment. There’s no magic quality threshold every piece of writing has to meet to guarantee publication. Before you send off your work, take a few minutes to identify another potential market for which you could re-work your material should it be rejected. That way, if your submission is rejected, the next step you take is a positive one. There is new hope, because you’ve already identified a new opportunity.

New editor equals new opportunity.

Editors come and editors go, and because of subjectivity, when a new editor arrives, it’s a new opportunity for writers. One magazine editor bought an article of mine that his two predecessors had rejected. It was exactly the same article, sent to exactly the same magazine. It was a new editor, therefore a new opinion. On another occasion, I submitted a short story to a magazine, but the interim fiction editor rejected it. A few months later, I noticed the fiction editor had returned from maternity leave. I resubmitted exactly the same story to her. She accepted it.

Wait 24 hours.

When a piece of work is rejected, put it aside for at least a day. Forget about it and work on something else. Why? Studies have shown that when we are rejected, our IQ level drops temporarily. In other words, we don’t have the brainpower to think about rejection rationally. Rejection hurts. We pour a lot of time and emotion into everything we write. When work is rejected, we feel all that time and effort have been wasted, too. It hasn’t. Take a break from that particular journey to publication. Tomorrow, you can return to it with a level-headed approach.”

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