Writing Tip Tuesday: Dealing with Rejection

Rejection happens. It happened yesterday. 29 out of 33 stories didn’t win the Christmas Story contest.

Some of you authors have been writing and submitting long enough that not winning is likely only a blip in your consciousness. Others of you are brand new to this and you’re likely having an entire range of feelings.

I hope none of you are crying but I have to admit that even as long as I’ve been writing and submitting (over 30 years), I still cry when I don’t “win”—and then I eat lots of chocolate. But after I’ve recovered from the chocolate coma, I look at my submission and the comments made about it and I get back to work polishing that thing until it shines. Then I submit it again.

It’s like getting bucked off a horse or crashing on your bike. It hurts but you have to get right back up there and go for it.

Here’s what an emotionally healthy writer does when they’re rejected:

  • First, they are so busy writing other projects that they don’t have time to wallow (or at least, not much time).
  • After the initial sting, they think about their critique (if they’re lucky enough to have one) (which all of you will). Are the points legitimate? Are they helpful?
  • They re-write the piece using the suggestions that feel right.
  • They study the winners and evaluate what is different between their writing and the writing of the winners. They find specific areas they can improve upon and consciously work on those areas.
  • They start a new story for a new contest.

If you’d like to share other coping techniques or things that help you deal with rejection, now’s the time to do it. Commiseration starts now.

Author: LDS Publisher

I am an anonymous blogger who works in the LDS publishing industry. I blog about topics that help authors seeking publication and about published fiction by LDS authors.

4 thoughts on “Writing Tip Tuesday: Dealing with Rejection”

  1. I submit like crazy because the more submissions I have out there, the more chance something will get picked up. But rejection does come and when it does, it takes me a day or so to start writing again, especially if it's a big one that I was hoping for.

  2. I agree with Aubrie. I got the happy response yesterday, which kind of feels like when that cute guy you like asks you out. But I've had my fair share of rejection, too. It does hurt. I've also done my fair share of doling out the rejections, so I know that first and foremost, it's not personal, doesn't mean you'll never make it or that your story is bad. When I get a rejection, I feel sorry for myself for a little bit, have some chocolate consolation, maybe shed some tears if it was something really devastating, then I get back to what I'm working on and keep on trying! A quote I have on my blog says, "Success flourishes only in perseverance–ceaseless, restless perseverance." That's from Baron Von Richtofen, aka The Red Baron, and it's my motto! (Wow. That went on a little long, didn't it.)

    Oh, and PS. We are very lucky to get critiques of the stories. That's a ton of work!

  3. A few years ago I went to a writer's conference where Shannon Hale was speaking. She pulled out a laminated roll of rejection letters and rolled it down the aisle. For me that was the coolest thing because it proved that her success didn't just 'happen', she was stung and burned and hurt along the way too. BUT she kept going, and now that she'd achieved her goals, those rejections helped tell both her story and her character. That's not to say she didn't shed tears over those letters, and I have too, but they make me stronger and show the world that I'm willing to go through the hard things.

    Love your tips on comparing your writing with the others and absorbing the critique. Too often we placate ourselves, and our writer freinds, with 'they're idiots' instead of saying–'okay, what could I have done better?'

    Great post–and congrats to the winners!

  4. .

    Step one: get lots of rejections. Once you get a critical mass, the pain's more spread out and you don't mind it as much.

    Isn't writing fun?

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