Weekend Writing: You Received a Rejection, Now What?

"Your work is not quite for us. We wish you the best of luck." 

(photo/Now Novel)
Nobody likes to receive rejections--not in real life when that dreamy boy/girl you have a crush on doesn't like you back or when you receive a college rejection letter. For writers, we hate to receive that generic e-mail that reads: "Your work is not quite for us. We wish you the best of luck."

It hurts our soul to know someone else didn't like the piece we spent months, maybe even years, writing and editing. It's hard enough to muster up the courage to send your writing out to publications, but then to receive a rejection slip after all of your work?

It hurts. It makes you want to give up writing and move on to a far more promising profession.

Don't do that. Do NOT give up. It's one rejection. 

You just received a rejection slip...Now what? Never give up. Did you know just about every successful author in the field was rejected? JK Rowling's Harry Potter series was rejected 12 times before publication. Kathryn Stockett's The Help was rejected 60 times. F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby--now considered 'the great American novel'--was even rejected multiple times before publication.

Did those authors give up? No, they did the opposite. They kept going and worked on their manuscripts until they were worthy of publication.

You should do the same thing. Enjoy the process and remember why you're a writer. It's the process of writing that's magical. It's a beautiful, and sometimes complicated, journey through your creativity to produce a work that will eventually reach readers.



Eventually is a key word to emphasize. It might take months or years to receive an acceptance letter, and that's okay. During that waiting period after you received a rejection letter, return to your work and edit.

Edit the heck out of your writing. The reason why you received a rejection letter was because your work wasn't quite ready for publication. If you received a positive rejection letter with constructive criticism remarks (which is, unfortunately, rare), then use those. You're lucky for receiving that much helpful feedback from an editor.

Go to your writing and see what the editor recommended. Work it into your craft and your piece will be much stronger after your editing and revising.

Here's an odd thing to do: Print out the rejection slips and post them on the wall above your writing desk (or wherever you write). When you're editing your writing, use those rejection slips as a motivation to improve your work. Say to yourself, "I will get an acceptance letter!"

And if you work hard enough, you will reach your goal and receive an acceptance letter. Never, ever give up. You're meant to be a writer, so don't let the rejection slips beat you down. I know it's easier said than done (I personally have received many rejection slips), but it can be done.

A "Peanuts" comic strip about rejection slips (photo/Editing.com).
Move on from the rejection slips. They don't own you or your writing. You're a talented writer. Besides, it's just one person's opinion. Keep going and I'm confident your work will eventually find the right home.

The home it was meant to be in from the beginning.

Write on.



  1. You don't get rejection from anything that you DON'T write. Keep up the great work!


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