Zabowska's Blog

November 4, 2009

Rejection is a reality for writers

Filed under: Uncategorized — zabowska @ 9:33 pm

  For writers, rejection is a way of life. It helps to breathe in rejection and to get
closer to it and yet not be diminished or destroyed by it. There is no real rhyme or
reason to some rejections that writers receive. It simply is part of the process of
getting published.

  Writer’s may tense up when they receive a rejection. However, they should treat
rejections just like another piece of mail that comes into their mail box or inbox on
their computer email account. Writers need to tell themselves another story about
rejection so that they could carry on as writers, despite the fact that they are
rejected from time to time.

  There’s lots of advice in the literature about how writers should handle rejection.
Some say that writers should ignore rejections. Others say don’t revise the
manuscript until fifteen or more publishers have rejected the piece. Still others say
throw out all your rejection slips. Others say keep all of your rejection slips. So, there
is no consensus on how to handle rejections, not even by veteran writers.

   The important thing that writers must realize is that their work isn’t rejected per
se. When writers send in a manuscript to a publisher or magazine, it goes through a
selection process. And if they don’t use your piece, it is because it doesn’t fit their
magazine guidelines. This is why it is so important for writers to make sure that the
magazines that they submit to doesn’t have a specific theme list, and if it does, the
writer must match their work to the theme exactly in order for the manuscript to
even be considered.

  Writers must learn to send out their work a lot. They should write a lot and continue
writing a lot, despite the rejections. And when rejections come in, and they will if they
send out their manuscripts, they should not give them more thought than they would
any other piece of business mail.  Ideally, writers should pick up their rejection note,
squint, try to make out something of interest, and then go back to their writing room
and work. That is the best advice that could be given to writers.

  Veteran writers don’t usually pay much attention to rejections because they know
that they don’t matter one whit. The relationship between who writes great stuff,
who gets published, and who gets rejected actually doesn’t make much sense at all.
That isn’t our domain anyway. We should just worry about writing. If we write well,
and consistently by ensuring that we keep improving our craft, the rejections will
ultimately take care of themselves.

  As Sellars says, attaching significance to a rejection letter is like believing in Santa.
There is no Santa, and there is no god who makes sure that the diligent writer gets
published. It just doesn’t work that way.

  If writers would believe that their lives would be less stressful and more
pleasurable. Writing is its greatest reward. Its nice when we get outside recognition.
But we shouldn’t need it to keep writing!


1 Comment »

  1. Sunny,

    I hold on to my rejections and place them in a folder, both physical for snail mail and electronic for the e-mail variety. Why, you ask? Well, each rejection tells me that I submitted to a publisher. It doesn’t matter who and what rejected my baby. Somebody had to read it for it to get rejected. Therefore, I have had at least one reader. More than one, if the mag or book publisher has a three-step selection process. So it has been read. That is better than it would have done laying in the bottom of a drawer.

    My folders are filled with markers of the success of my submitting abilities. I submit. I get a response. I submit again. Sooner or later the response will not go into that folder. Instead, a contract will go into another folder.

    You see. Exactly the same process and result. Something goes in a folder after something got submitted. The only real difference in the steak dinner as a reward at the end.


    Comment by claudsy — November 5, 2009 @ 4:11 am | Reply

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