Rejection – It Makes You Better (Honest)

By on November 2, 2016
Rejection - It Makes Your Better (Honest) - Writer's

We have all been told a million times before that as writers we must inevitably face rejection and lots of it at that.

Whether you are sending your precious first novel out to agents and publishers or emailing a carefully crafted story pitch to an editor, when they respond with a ‘no,’ or perhaps, even worse, don’t respond at all, it can feel crushing.

However, we also know that persistence is key. If every writer who received their first rejection gave up, burnt their manuscript, threw their laptop out of the window and crawled into a dark hole of doom and despair while vowing never to write again, there would be a severe lack of creative writing and content out there!

Every time you send your work off you can’t help feel that flutter of excitement, that feeling that maybe, this time, you will get a positive response. This is what we live for; that hope that maybe our dreams will come true. Each time they don’t, we have to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and do it all over again. Some may call it foolish, rather like a fly banging into a window over and over again. I, however, like to think of it as determined, and brave.

It is a long road from sitting down to write to seeing your work in print. However being rejected over and over again is useful, and the more rejection you face, the more opportunity you have to improve.

The more you are rejected, the better you can handle it

Remember that first rejection you ever got? Pretty devastating right? Until that point you probably harboured that glimmer of hope that you, against all the odds, would be one of the few mythical authors who have their work picked up first time and have publishers fawning over them while battling it out with one another to be chosen to publish your work. However, when this doesn’t happen, it can rock your world, shatter your confidence and make you question everything.

What it does make you do is realise you can get over it, eventually. You sit back down; you start again. Then another rejection comes in; it knocks you back, but this time you get back to work a little quicker. This goes on and on until you are so well versed in dealing with rejection that you barely pause to read the letter before continuing with your craft. The long and short of it is you waste less time feeling sorry for yourself and more time improving your work.

You understand what editors are looking for

If you do get something published, it doesn't mean that your next book or your next article will. What it does do however is give you that golden ticket, that insider knowledge. What did you write in your letter? How did you present your idea? What did you do differently to make it work? When you have a few acceptances and articles published you can build up a much better picture of what you need to say to get a positive response - you can develop a formula and increase your chances each time you try again. Every time you get a ‘yes’ you are more likely to get one in the future!

You resist and rework

Being rejected buys you time. You can go back and look at your work and figure out how to make it better. This is why it is a bad idea to send your work out to too many editors at the same time. Test the water first and, if what you are doing isn’t working then go back to the drawing board, change it, and try again.

You might just get helpful feedback

Occasionally editors will give you some feedback on your manuscript or pitches. Treat this like gold dust. They are the experts; they know what works and what doesn’t and if they have taken time out of their extremely busy day to comment on your work then use this information wisely.

You can never entirely take the sting out of being rejected. However, you can use it to make you a better writer. How do you deal with rejection?

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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