7 Things I Learned about Rejection

Posted: December 1, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Oh, yes. I am well acquainted with the heartbreak of rejection.

 I mean the writing kind, folks. (Not the kind of rejection I got in fourth grade when I slipped a box of Russell Stover chocolates into my dreamboat crush’s valentine sack…that’s another level of pain altogether.)

 1. Rejection is a natural part of the writing process. Everyone goes through it. Rejection should be a motivator to persevere and grow.

 2. Rejection can nurture a healthy sense of humility. You thought everyone would love your perfect novel about sparkling zombie assassins? Think again. Learn to embrace honesty and work to improve.

 3. Rejection can be illuminating. Although even the most complimentary rejection is still a “no,” rejections with personal feedback provide the writer with valuable critique. If agents or editors take the time to point out flaws, some deep reflecting and/or revising is in order. Query, partial, or full request rejections with on target personal critique are golden. Each has the potential to strengthen future submissions.

 4. Rejection can measure progress. Most of my first rejections were impersonal form rejections. After much revision and critique, my rejections became personalized notes and partial requests. After more revision, my queries have been followed by full requests. Yes, I’m still getting rejected, but I’m getting a lot of detailed critique in the process. Bless those agents who offer scraps of insight to the hopeful writer.

 5. Rejection can be a much needed reality check. If you’ve revised two dozen times, queried 200 agents, and still get only form rejections, a gut assessment is needed. Maybe it’s your project, maybe it’s your writing, or maybe it’s the market. Maybe you stink like a three month old cabbage. Maybe it’s time to explore a career in dairy farming…

 6. Rejection separates the wheat from the chaff. Those who give up early and refuse to learn from rejection make room for others who will go on to publish wonderful (or not so wonderful) books. Keep your day job, but keep writing.

 7. Rejection is hard and fast. No amount of wishful thinking or elaborate rejectomancy can spin an acceptance from a pass on a manuscript. Deal with it and move on.

Dear Ones,

Although your rejection misery sounds very compelling, I’m afraid Imust pass on hearing more about it. I wish you future success in your psychothery sessions.

Best Regards,

Scarlet Whisper

 Hungry for more?

 Curl up with a steaming mug of my hot spiced cider. Pour in a little something extra, if necessary, but remember that the suicide hotline standing by twenty four hours a day, if you need to talk to someone. 

 Hot Spiced Cider

1 large can pineapple juice
1 quart orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 quarts strong tea
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons whole cloves
Cinnamon sticks (two or three)

Combine  juices and tea. In sauce pan, combine remaining ingredients with 1 qt cold water – bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes. Turn off the burner and strain off the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Add hot mixture to tea/juice mixture. Heat and serve.


  1. Jean says:

    It can measure progress, too, can’t it?

  2. Learning from it is a good way to deal with rejection. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Marisa Birns says:

    Just yesterday I read that CS Lewis was rejected 800 times!

    You are correct in saying that rejection is just another part of the writing process. A learning part.

    Having a good sense of humor helps. I do hope so anyway.

    Not only do we get your great post, there’s also a wonderful recipe. Yum. Will try tonight.


  4. catwoods says:

    Jenny, I love it!

    Your letter was beautifully written. Can’t wait to try out the cider. My daugther loves it and this sounds divine.

    P.S. You might want to change my blog address in your side bar. After a complete technological failure, I had to start over.


  5. drizl says:

    Stephen King started with his rejections nailed to the wall. He soon had so many he switched to a stake! LOL!

  6. Jemi Fraser says:

    I think writing is one of few very professions where we expect rejection, and expect to learn from it. Makes us pretty hardy souls 🙂

  7. moderndaystoryteller says:

    Another delectable post, Scarlet Whisper, and you are so right. Though if you don’t mind, might spice that cider up a notch with a bottle of single malt. Rejection sucks. Get drunk. Get mad. Get over it. Next!

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