There isn’t a single published writer out there who hasn’t been rejected at least once.
In fact, I think you’d struggle to find a writer who’s only been rejected once.
Even Stephen King had short stories rejected when he first started out.
Harry Potter was rejected by numerous publishers, and J.K.Rowling had some pretty harshly-worded rejection letters for her Cormoran Strike novels, too.
Some authors get to the point where their name alone is enough to attract the attention of a publisher.
To get to that point, though, you have to go through what feels like endless rejections.
Many writers don’t get past this point.
They don’t have the gumption or the tenacity or the drive to keep going.
They think that a rejection means their work isn’t good enough, but it’s so much more complicated than that.
There are two types of people in this world…
When it comes to rejection, there are two types of people in the world.
Those of us that can handle rejection, and those of us that can’t.
The people that can handle it are the ones that brush it off and move on.
They’re the Hilary Clintons of the world.
Those of us that can’t handle it treat each rejection as personal.
We assume that it means our work isn’t good enough and we must therefore stop trying.
But that’s the wrong mindset to have. And it is possible to change mindsets.
When I first upped my PR game I really struggled to get coverage.
I reached out to places intermittently, dreading the inevitable rejection email—or worse, being completely ignored.
After working with several sales/PR experts and reading Janet Murray’s Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart, I finally found the gumption to keep pitching until something stuck.
And then I got accepted by The Huffington Post.
This was a huge achievement for me.
While I’d been blogging for years, I’d always struggled to get my writing placed elsewhere.
Getting my writing published in The Huffington Post meant that I finally had my foot in the door.
And once your foot is in the door, it’s a whole lot easier to get the rest of your body into the room.Once your foot is in the door, it’s a whole lot easier to get the rest of your body into the room. #writetip Click To Tweet
You need to be tenacious
Unfortunately, the door will be slammed shut on your foot many, many times before you make your way into the room.
The first few times it will hurt and will feel like they’re trying to cut the circulation off to your foot (or in this case, your creativity).
If you keep going, it will feel like you’ve stubbed your toe—it’ll sting like hell for a few minutes, then everything will return to normal and you can carry on.
If you keep going after that, you’ll get to a point where rejections don’t hurt any more.
Sometimes you don’t hear back because someone missed your email—in a busy inbox it’s easily done.
Sometimes you get rejected because it’s not what a magazine/blog/publisher is looking for right now, they’ve published something similar recently, or your piece is great but doesn’t fit their audience.
It’s never as simple as your writing being good or bad—it’s almost always about the right time and place with just a little bit of luck.Rejection is about so much more than the quality of your #writing. Click To Tweet
Always do your research
Before you hit submit, do your research.
Know who the best person to contact at a publication or agency is and email or call them directly.
Make sure you know what they’re looking for and be confident that your writing is a good fit for their audience.
Don’t just contact an agent because they’re an agent.
Doing so is a waste of both their time and yours.
Rejection is inevitable for every writer
Even after spending hours researching and tailoring your writing style to somewhere, you may still get rejected.
You may not even get told why, but after a while, rejection becomes just another part of the process.
Because it is.
Not everyone will like your creations.
The most important thing is that you like it, and that you enjoy the creative process.
If you find the prospect of marketing and publishing your work daunting, don’t worry.
It gets easier with time.
The short-term stress and heartache is worth it for the joy of sharing your work with the world.
And there will be people out there that want to read it, I promise. But you have to find them.
Rejection is as important to the writing and publication process as drafting, redrafting, and editing.
While it’s never fun to receive a rejection (although there are some writers who frame rejection letters or keep rejection emails), they help to build resilience and a thicker skin for later on in your writing career.Rejection helps to build resilience and a thicker skin. Click To Tweet
Your list of rejections may well always outnumber your list of acceptances, but so long as you keep persevering and get your work out there, none of that matters.
Check out more excerpts from Productivity for Writers:
- Why you’ll never achieve perfection
- How to deal with stress and burnout
- Can toxic friends kill your productivity?
- Why boredom is a luxury
- What to do when you have too many ideas