Reveling in Rejection

Yesterday I received my 20th rejection letter from a magazine/publisher/editor, etc. It’s an occasion I never thought I’d get to. I didn’t begin actively submitting my work for publication until a year ago. I was terrified of rejection. What could be worse than getting letter after letter saying your work is no good? Why would anyone willingly do that to themselves?

Well, firstly, to be a writer you have to be just a bit masochistic. Even if you never submit your work out for publication, even if you never receive a rejection letter writing is still an incredibly challenging and hard process. It involves isolation, focus, editing, and pouring a part of yourself onto the page.

But when you start sending work out for publication, when you receive that first rejection letter you’re opening yourself up to let other people hurt you. It’s an entirely different kind of pain. So again, why?

Clearly, I can’t answer for every writer out there. Hell, some days I don’t know if I can even answer for me. But why I started to submit my work is to begin taking myself seriously as a writer. Before I began submitting my work I just considered writing a fun little hobby. Something that would never go anywhere. I figured that someone would discover and publish all my work after my death. (To worldwide acclaim, of course.) But I know that, that isn’t really ever going to happen. If I don’t make an effort for myself then why should I expect anyone else will?

For me, submitting my work is my way of saying ‘Yes, I am a writer. Yes, my work is good enough to share. Yes, I can do this.’ It affirms what I’m doing. Even the rejection letters affirm this. That sounds crazy right? But think about it. Every time I get a rejection letter, that’s one more letter than someone who never tried. That’s one more person who’s seen my name. One more person who knows that writing is alive and well. Also, the moments when you get a personal note on your rejection letter make it for me.

So don’t let a fear of rejection stop you. Revel in rejection. Embrace and accept it as a part of the painful love affair that is writing.

And then… have a big piece of chocolate, and keep submitting your work.


1 Comment »

  1. […] Writers have to be a bit masochistic. You have to be able to handle being constantly rejected, having your work cut to pieces by editors, and being able to pick the pieces back up. For me, working through this is rejection is proof that you are working on your writing, that you are putting your work out there. (You can read more about my thoughts of rejection here). […]

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