We’ve all been rejected in one way or another.
Whether you asked someone out on a date and they politely refused or applied for a writing fellowship and received that “Thanks but no thanks” letter or a cat that you really wanted to pet slowly padded away from your outstretched hand, we’ve all all had those moments. Personally, I’ve had a book rejected from a publishing house and was not accepted for an exclusive writing retreat in the past month.
Yet, there was not very long ago that I clocked in with twenty rejections from poetry and literary magazines in one month. 20! So, what are my self-imposed rules for dealing with rejection? I’m so glad you asked.
- Be sad for a while. I can’t help but be sad for a little while after receiving a rejection letter. It stings like cutting a lemon with a handful of paper cuts. So, allow yourself a pre-approved amount of time to be sad. Fifteen minutes to an hour. No more than that.
- Move on and self-care. Okay, now get yourself out of the funk. Put on your favorite song and dance around. Call your BFF and whine. Take a hot bath and pour yourself a cup of your favorite tea. Chase your dinner with a tall glass of your liquor of choice. Pet a furry friend (if they let you.) The important thing is to take care of your very fragile writer’s ego and nurse it back to health. Do what makes you feel better and MOVE ON.
- Start writing again. Write something new. Do a sprint with friends on Twitter. Complete a flash fiction prompt. Write that story that you want to read. Write an angsty poem that rivals your high school love sick poetry.
- Submit. Submit. Submit. Once upon a time, I promised myself that I would get at least ten rejections a month. My theory was if I’m getting rejected, that means I’m submitting and the first step to getting accepting is submitting. Nobody is going to publish your work if it is sitting on your hard drive. Nobody can read your beautiful story if you never show it to them. Now, I understand that after a rejection, you have low confidence. Everything you write may look like drivel. You may feel like a hack. But, you aren’t. Keep writing. Keep working. Keep getting better. And keep submitting.