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R is for Rejection

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge–blogging every day in the month of April (except Sundays!) with each letter of the alphabet.

The dreaded ‘R’ word is one that every writer fears, but every writer has to deal with at some point. If you’re going to put yourself out there and try to get published, you’re almost certainly going to deal with rejection at some point. You won’t make all the shots you take, but it’s important to take those shots. With each one you get better, even when the failure hurts.

Rejection comes in different ways–agents and editors may reject you with a form letter (which sucks) or a more detailed rejection letting you know exactly why the piece doesn’t work for them (which can sting even more). It’s hard to be told no and it’s hard to be told you aren’t good enough for someone. Constructive criticism can be difficult to swallow when you’re reeling with sadness and shame. But you should take a deep breath, calm down, and work on processing that criticism at some point.

Sometimes rejections are helpful. They open your eyes to what’s wrong with your writing and show you a better path to take. You can learn lessons from rejections. This is why a basic form letter sucks so much, because it doesn’t give you any clue what you did wrong–if you did anything wrong at all. Maybe the agent or editor just wasn’t looking for what you had to offer right then or didn’t want anything new. Worse than knowing why you failed is dangling in the void, clueless.

Rejections shouldn’t be cruel and hurtful. If they are, consider yourself lucky you dodged a bullet and won’t be associating yourself with that person or their business. No matter how an agent or editor feels about your work they should be courteous and formal–ones who aren’t are poisonous and unprofessional, and you don’t want them handling your work. Likewise, no matter how much a rejection hurts, you should never argue with it or tell the person off. Your unprofessional behavior will be noted and passed around among their colleagues.

How do you deal with rejection? Do you try to learn from it? Are there methods you’ve found to help soften the blow?

Megan Morgan View All

Urban fantasy and paranormal romance author.

18 thoughts on “R is for Rejection Leave a comment

  1. I’ve struggled with rejection because it can paralyze me. My biggest struggle is with not knowing the why. It generally doesn’t stop me from writing but will keep me from sending more work out.

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    • I’ve had rejections that made me want to hide in a hole before, not because the editor or agent was nasty about it, but because I was SO SURE this would be the one–and it wasn’t. Sometimes it takes a lot of try and try again, unfortunately, but it’s what we have to do.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Another great post! I agree. When we consider them with a calm and rational mind, rejections and constructive criticism can be extremely helpful.

    You won’t make all the shots you take, but it’s important to take those shots. – Well said.

    *Shantala @ ShanayaTales*

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  3. I feel a bit in a quandary about rejection letters. On the one hand was the work not good enough and should I really pull it apart and start again, or on the other, if I think it is good enough, do I go ahead and self publish it?

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  4. As I’ve mentioned in a few other replies, sending my writing out is something I need to actively start doing. For a long time I’ve been like George McFly, just assuming no one would like it or reject me straight out. You’ve made some very good points though. Rejection can be a good thing. Especially if there truly is something I need to work on.

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    • Unfortunately if you want to be published, it’s a step you have to take. But don’t worry, even if you get rejected you’re in very good company–most writers are! It helps you gain courage too, to send stuff out again and again until something sticks.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I used to be terrified of rejection. I never submitted any of my work. Then I did, and the rejections started rolling in, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. It made me want to keep writing, become a better writer, and keep submitting. I love personalized rejection letters, because at least you can tell they took the time to read through your hard work!

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