Writer’s Life: The Personal Nature of a Rejection

Click on picture to read rejection email.

You’ve heard it all before … never take a rejection personally … send out that manuscript (poem, story) to another market and keep on keeping on when you get the rejection.

We’re constantly told by day job co-workers, family and friends that less than one percent of all writers “make-it”. “Make it” is defined as being able to quit the day job and live on the earning from their writing.

You know the stories. You’ve heard the tales. You could share all the negative garbage well-meaning others have dumped on you.

It’s hard not to take the rejection personal. I received two rejections this week. One was especially hard to accept. The magazine had sent me an initial email back in January saying they liked the short story enough they were referring it to a “review committee”. I wish they had never told me it was going to the review committee. That got my hopes up just to be shot down two months later.

I chuckled a little when the rejection email arrived. I had this bizarro version of Sally Field’s second academy award best actress acceptance speech come to mind. I could see myself with tears streaming down my face screaming “you hate me, you really hate me”.

I knew they were illiterate and didn’t recognize good speculative fiction … then I was honest to myself … it didn’t meet their current needs. I knew what I had to do. I would rework it, pray over it and ship it out to ambush the next unsuspecting editor.

The editors have a heck of a job, don’t they. I would hate to read all the wanna be writer fiction they get.

What am I trying to say? Hang in there. In the last week I sent the first five chapters to a publisher who only agreed to read them because one of her authors recommend me to her. This is either a kind, courtesy read by the editor/publisher or a massive example of good luck or providence on my part.

On the flip side, I am looking for some computer contract work to help pay the bills. I have two writing conferences I want to attend later this year. I need a sale or two, a contract with a nice advance, or some contract work to get the needed conference money. One of the conferences is near my home in Dallas, Texas this September. It is the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference.

Even if you’ve heard it before I want to remind you — don’t give up your passion for writing. I was told in a  college senior level creative writing English class that it takes about 10,000 hours to master a craft. That’s true for playing the guitar, piano, writing poetry, or writing the next great novel. If one works 40 hours a week for the 52 weeks in a year that’s only 2080 hours. 10,000 = 5 years+ of full-time work.

So, get to writing … and master your craft. I’m still working at it. As an editor told me back in the 1980s … you’re not the best writer, but you write saleable copy, write to specification, and meet deadlines. It’s writers like you that will ultimately succeed. I’m still trying … and I’ll make it.

2 thoughts on “Writer’s Life: The Personal Nature of a Rejection

  1. Good luck.

    Think of all the editors who rejected J.K. Rowling. One even told her to hang on to her day job as she’ll never make it as a writer…

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