Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rejection: A Positive Step Toward Publication

"An Itty Bitty Column on Writing" by Mindy Phillips Lawrence
From Sharing with Writers (Carolyn Howard-Johnson)
February 3, 2009

You send off a query and wait for an answer. And wait and wait and wait. One day, a thin envelope comes in the mail or an e-mail comes from the publisher. The contents says, “Thanks, but no thanks.” For the next day or so, you are in a blue funk. How could the editor not see how excellent your topic was? How skillfully you wrote about it? You begin to believe that all editors are born to reject.

Are you SURE about that? If that is true, how do all those OTHER articles, stories and books get published? Someone gets accepted. Why not you? Rejection exposes all our insecurities, dragging them to the surface. Even seasoned authors tend to question their abilities and rejection fuels thatfire.

But, here’s the thing. Rejection is a powerful teacher. Here are some ofits lessons:

~Rejection lets you know how deeply you want to fight for publication
~Rejection makes you tweak your writing and make it better
~Rejection makes you read the markets you query more closely
~Rejection makes you study the market’s cycle to see what’s hot and what’s not and try to produce a hot bit of writing
~Rejection teaches you not to take rejection letters personally
~Rejection makes you decide whether to choose to think positively ornegatively about your work

I read somewhere that when you receive a rejection you should allowyourself FIVE MINUTES to throw a temper tantrum in a room by yourself. After you have done this a time or two, you will realize that five minutes is an awfully long time to rant all alone.

So, get back to writing!


“How to Deal with Rejection,” Shruti Chandra Gupta

“How NOT to let Rejection Ruin Your Writing Career,” Melanie Marten

“Relishing Writing Rejection,” Janet Grace Riehl

“Coping With Rejection,” Moira Allen

“Rejection: A Normal Part of a Writer’s Life,” Jason Lusk


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Have to jump in here 'cause Mindy writes a column for my Sharing with Writers newsletter. That means that every week subscribers benefit from the kind of resources that only she kind find--plus her invaluable take on the writing life.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
To subscribe, send an e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to hojonews @ aol.com

Milli Thornton said...

Great article, Mindy. Your bullet points really go deep into the heart of the matter. Some advice on this topic can tend to sound shallow (when rejection goes to our very core) but yours is both compassionate and sensible.

Loved the advice to throw a five-minute tantrum! That sounds like fun, actually. I wish I could get mad when rejected, instead of feeling so wounded. I would tend to cry a lot and isolate myself rather than rant. But I've found that forcing myself to be more people-oriented--and to think about ways to reach my readers--helps put things back on the right footing. Our writing is more about the audience that needs us, rather than what publishers might say or do. Rejection can make us forget that.