The Art of Receiving a Rejection

Rejection: there is no writer who has never experienced it. Actually most everyone has dealt with rejection of some kind in their lifetime.

It’s hard enough to put your writing out there.  The possibility of having what you’ve produced criticized and possibly rejected is enormous, which brings with it great fear. A determined writer will push aside the fear and risk it anyway.

Any writer serious about getting published traditionally or otherwise will end up facing readers of all kinds as well as their opinions. A cruel critique can be demeaning and is unnecessary. A genuine review pointing out areas requiring improvement can be an eye-opening opportunity in spite of the pain of being rejected.

We all react differently to being rejected. It hurts, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s a necessary evil that can bring with it the inspiration to get better instead of bitter; it can increase our determination to succeed; and if we accept the good advice that can come alongside a rejection it can be a valuable learning experience.

Keep writing, keep submitting, keep improving.

What It’s Going To Take

If you’re a writer, and you want to follow your dream of getting published you already know at least two things about the journey: 1. It’s going to be hard work. 2. It’s probably going to take some time to get there.

That said, you’ll have to ask yourself some very important questions in order to make it down that road. For me those questions are 1. How badly do I want my goal? and 2. What am I willing to sacrifice to get there?

I want to reach my goal of getting published bad enough to make writing a priority, ahead of so many other things I could be doing that bring me joy. I’ll never put it ahead of my family, which always comes first; but it comes way before watching television or movies, knitting or other crafts I enjoy, or other ‘fun’ stuff that I could be doing when instead I’ve got my butt in a chair and have my hands on my keyboard, working away at a manuscript.

As for the sacrifices I’m willing to make, the biggest for me is sleep. I don’t have to get up early after only five or six hours of sleep. I have the luxury of getting my eight hours, most of the time. But even if I’ve been writing late into the night, and set my alarm to get up early to write some more, I do it because I know that without spending a significant amount of quiet, uninterrupted time writing, I will never get published. So, what are you willing to sacrifice?




Roadblocks and How To Get Around Them

Stuff happens all the time that seems to distract us from our goals. As a writer, I`ll admit that some of this can be called `procrastination`, laziness even, or just plain getting tired of the struggle to succeed.

Other times, roadblocks are for real. I`ll never regret putting aside my writing to look after the needs of my aging family members. The honor of providing the care they needed at a critical time in their lives was important to me; more important than my writing at the time.

A recent roadblock for me was the discovery of a litter of five kittens, eyes still closed, abandoned in a flower bed next to our house. Since the mother, a stray we`d seen in the neighborhood all summer long, never returned, we took the little ones in to keep them from freezing, starving or being eaten by the plentiful wildlife in our area. Bottle feeding, cleaning and caring for them took time. And yes, it did distract me from my writing. But it was absolutely worth it.

They`re almost ready to be adopted out now, and need a lot less care, and so: on with the writing!

Being an Encourager

Writing is solitary work. It’s also fraught with criticism. The moment we share our work with others, it’s bound to be judged. And we, as writers, are often asked to judge or critique the work of other writers.

When we critique the work of others, it’s extremely important to be honest about what we’ve read. That said, there’s no need to cut down, belittle, or insult the work of another writer, or the writer herself. It is always possible to give someone feedback that is constructive and encouraging.

A recent tweet I value reads ‘Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.’ How true! We all have our own challenges to overcome. A simple word of encouragement can make all the difference to people close to us, to fellow writers, and even to strangers we happen to meet. I choose to be an encourager. Pass it on.





The Art of Perseverance

We write, we submit, we collect rejections … and we write some more. At least that’s what most writers do. Then some of us get published, and other go back to the drawing board and write some more. Or not.

It’s hard not to lose faith in your commitment to writing: publication is the end goal. And when that goal seems impossible to reach we’re faced with some difficult decisions. Do we stop, admit defeat and go on to pursue other things? Do we put aside our writing, perhaps return to our dream of getting published at some other time, when we’re not as busy, distracted, discouraged?

Or do we persevere? The answer to that pressing question is as subjective at the opinion of the agents, editors and publishers who critique our writing.

Perseverance takes great strength and in writing, where rejection is part of the process, it’s almost impossible, depending on each writer’s journey. It is however the only way to ‘win’ in a venture where commitment can outweigh talent on the way to success.

Warren Adler’s (best known for The War of The Roses) closing thoughts in his post, sums this up succinctly with his advice that the true novelist must soldier on, keep writing, keep trying and never give up.