Six Ways Writers Can Reject the Rejection

Writers are a peculiar lot, and I’m not just talking about how we look.  For the most part, people who choose writing for a career don’t worry about what other people say about them.  They wouldn’t survive long if they did.

My two older boys recently entered a local writing contest.  It was the first year that the younger one qualified (because of his age) and he was excited.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have the success his older brother had.  To try and comfort him, I dragged out my file of rejection letters.  I encouraged him to jump right back in and even found some more contests for him to enter.  When he stopped laughing (at all MY rejections) he seemed ready to go again.

That’s the attitude all writers must have about their work.  You can’t take no for an answer or you will never get any where.  Think of all the “great” writers who were rejected with their first submissions (Dr. Seuss was rejected 27 times, Steven King was rejected too many times to count, and John Grisham was rejected over 46 times).   To be successful in this industry, you have to take the rejection and turn it into something positive.

1.      Really read the letter, don’t stop at “I regret to inform you.”  There may be some valuable information in there about WHY they rejected the letter.  Use it to tweak the piece and then find another market to try again.

2.      And do keep trying.  For every rejection, put out five more queries.  Make sure that you follow the basic guidelines (knowing the market, good grammar, etc), but be persistent in your pursuit.

3.      Take some classes – online, through the local community college, or at conferences – to hone and develop your skills.  No matter how talented you might be, you don’t know everything.  Taking classes will work muscles you didn’t even know were there.

4.      Stretch your genre.  If you write novels, then do some short stories, news letters, letters to the editor, or personal essays.  Don’t just stay with the one writing area.  There is so much to learn from the different writing fields.

5.      Make your novel into a short story.  It will help you with your synopsis and might give you a whole new insight into your idea.

6.      Start on the next novel.  Don’t wait until the first one is published to dive into the second one.  Many working writers today had their second work published first.  It seems that the more you write, the better you get at writing.

Writing is a skill like any other art.  It must be practiced and perfected.  Even those with a natural gift still have to learn the industry and the rules.  If this is your career of choice or just a hobby for the weekend, keep pushing yourself to the next level.  Eventually you will find your way to the top of your mountain.

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