dealing with rejection as a writer

Dealing With Rejection as a Writer: Actionable Tips

Writing is a rewarding but challenging profession that requires skill, dedication, and perseverance. As a writer, you pour your heart and soul into your work, hoping that it will resonate with readers and lead to success. However, the reality is that rejection is a common part of the writing journey, and it can be disheartening and demotivating.

Whether you’re facing rejection from literary agents, publishers, or readers, it’s essential to learn how to deal with it and move forward. In this article, we’ll explore some strategies and tips to help you overcome rejection as a writer and succeed in the industry.

Understand That Rejection Is Normal in the Writing Industry

Rejection is an inevitable part of the writing industry. Even the most successful writers have faced rejection at some point in their careers. It’s essential to understand that rejection does not define your worth as a writer. Instead, it’s a natural part of the process that every writer must face.

The best way to deal with rejection is to accept it and learn from it. Take the feedback you receive and use it to improve your writing. Don’t let rejection discourage you from pursuing your writing dreams.

Reframe Rejection as Progress

Reframing rejection as progress is a powerful mindset shift that can help writers cope with rejection. Instead of seeing rejection as a personal failure or a sign of incompetence, writers can choose to see it as progress towards their goals.

Rejection can be a sign that you’re pushing boundaries and taking risks. The only writers who don’t receive rejections are those who don’t submit their work. Every rejection is a stepping stone, and seeing them as such will make the sting of rejection much easier to bear.

Learn from Rejection and Improve Your Craft

These days, most rejections are form-based, but if you acquire enough of them, you’re bound to get some feedback. Use the notes you receive from editors and agents to improve your work and trigger explorations deeper into the craft.

Read craft books by authors you admire. Work to identify weaknesses in your writing. Work with a professional editor with the intention of learning from the process. Consider taking writing workshops or attending conferences to learn new techniques and strategies. Join a writing group or find a critique partner. The more energy you invest in your craft, the more confident you’ll become as a writer.

Receiving a rejection can make you feel like you wasted your time writing the rejected piece, but that’s never the case. With each rejection, you have an opportunity to learn and grow as a writer. And even the act of writing and submitting that piece already helped you learn about who you are as an artist. Just keep doing it.

Understand the Reasons for Rejection

Rejection can come from many different sources, including literary agents, publishers, and editors. It is important to understand the reasons behind the rejection, as this can help you to improve your writing and increase your chances of success in the future.

Here are some common reasons for rejection:

  • Story-Level Issues: An ineffective story is a strong reason for a rejection. Evaluate your plot, characterization, structure, and pacing. Do you begin the story with conflict? Does your protagonist have developed motivations and goals? Are there clear stakes?
  • Poor Writing Quality: If your prose is riddled with errors, lacks an original voice, or is unengaging, it will likely be rejected. You’ll develop the strength of your prose with time and practice—and by reading extensively.
  • Unsuitable Content: If your writing does not fit the publisher’s or agent’s specific criteria, it will be rejected. For example, if you submit a romance novel to a publisher that specializes in horror, your manuscript is unlikely to be accepted. Always pay close attention to submission guidelines and wishlists.
  • Timing and Market Trends: Sometimes, rejection can come down to timing. If a publisher has already acquired a similar book or the market is oversaturated with a particular genre, they may pass on your manuscript. Be careful, though, of attributing all of your rejections to timing and never taking ownership for the areas where you can improve.
dealing with rejection as a writer by crumpling up paper and writing in notebook

Keep Writing and Submitting Your Work

The key to dealing with rejection as a writer is to keep writing and submitting your work. Don’t let rejection stop you from pursuing your writing dreams. Instead, use it as motivation to keep going and improve your writing.

One great habit for turning rejection into something positive is to respond to rejection by submitting another piece—or two! Keep a list of markets you plan to submit to, and when you receive a rejection, you can immediately turn that into an opportunity to take another chance and put your work out there. This also keeps you from wallowing in the rejection. Instead of worrying about what could have been, you can get excited about the potential in the new opportunity.

Keep submitting your work to literary agents, publishers, and literary magazines. Be persistent and patient, and don’t give up. Remember that success often comes to those who keep trying.

Don’t Take Rejection Personally: Separate Yourself

Rejection can be tough, but it’s important not to take it personally. Develop a thick skin and try not to let rejection affect your self-esteem.

This is especially difficult for writers, since our work is an extension of ourselves. When your writing is rejected, it can feel like a rejection of you as a person. And that is incredibly hard to deal with.

The only way to manage rejection is to understand that a rejection of a piece of your writing has nothing to do with your intrinsic value. You have to learn to distance yourself from your finished work. You can make this easier on yourself by letting your work rest before editing it and sending it out, but the best way to hone this skill is simply to practice.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Writing can be a solitary profession, and it’s essential to surround yourself with supportive people who understand the challenges you’re facing. Find a writing group or community where you can connect with other writers and share your experiences.

Consider joining online writing forums or social media groups, such as The Pack on Facebook, where you can network with other writers and get support and feedback. The more you can connect with like-minded individuals, the easier it will be to stay motivated and inspired.

You can also connect through writing groups and in-person conferences, such as the Blue Pen Writers’ Conference.

Practice Self-Care

Dealing with rejection can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally. It’s important to take breaks when you need to and practice self-care to avoid burnout. Always focus on your nutrition, quality sleep, and exercise. All the advice from all the blogs can’t replace the simple act of listening to your body.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I deal with rejection as a writer?

A: Dealing with rejection as a writer can be challenging. It’s important to keep writing and submitting, seek feedback, and understand that rejection is not tied to your self-worth.

Q: How can I improve my chances of success as a writer?

A: Always work to improve your craft as a storyteller and wordsmith. Think about why you write, and let your passion drive you. Surround yourself with writers who can teach you and inspire you.

Q: How do I know if my manuscript is ready for submission?

A: Before submitting your manuscript, ensure that you have revised and edited to the best of your ability. You may send it to beta readers and/or professional editors. When you feel confident that it’s the best you can make it, then you’re ready to press send.

Dealing with Rejection as a Writer: Overcoming the Challenges

Rejection is an unavoidable aspect of being a writer. Every author, regardless of their level of experience, will face rejection at some point in their career. It is important to understand that rejection is not a reflection of your worth as a writer or a person, but rather a natural part of the publishing process.

Rejection is a necessary stepping stone toward success. As long as you don’t let it stop you, rejection will only move you forward.

If you aren’t sure you’re on the right path for your goals or if you’re considering working with a professional editor to give your work the best chance at being accepted, learn more about our team at Blue Pen.

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