It’s a funny old thing, rejection. Well, it’s generally not very funny and it usually hurts, no scrap that, it always hurts but as an author you’ve got to get used to it, expect it even.
Now, I realize I’m very lucky. I’ve only had a few rejections in all my publishing career and the very first story I submitted for publication was accepted first time, that is unusual! But over the past 6 years (bloody Nora, has it been that long already?) I have had to deal with rejection and I’ve had a long bout of it recently.
In the last month or so I’ve had 6 short stories rejected. Now, I have to say, the rejection letters have been lovely which makes it a little easier. There’s been a touch of the personal about them and I’ve not felt like I’ve been sent packing with my tail between my legs.
But 6 rejections in a short space of time does put a bit of a dent in your ego. It’s easy to feel deflated and sad. It’s tempting to stop writing all together because obviously you’re not good enough.
At this point you really need someone to hit you in the face with a wet kipper to snap you out of it. Again I’m lucky, I have great writing friends and a wonderfully supportive husband who all will happily slap me (metaphorically speaking) and tell me I’m being daft and I should keep writing.
So here’s my 3 simple tips for surviving rejection.
1. Remember that every story is unique.
It might not have fitted with the publisher, so try again. If it gets rejected 2 or 3 times maybe read it through again and see if there’s something that needs adjusting. Ask someone you respect to read it over and make suggestions to make it better. Don’t give up.
2. Think positive.
If you’re already published think of the stories you’ve got out there, if you’re not think of the stories you’ve had good feedback on and remind yourself you are a good writer. It’s very important to not get mired up in self doubt. One rejection (or half a dozen) doesn’t make you a bad writer. It makes you a professional. You know as well as I do that very famous authors were rejected many times before they got their big break. The only way you’ll get a story published is to keep writing them and keep submitting them.
3. Try something different.
Sometimes rejection really stings and you just can’t face that particular story again. You’re sick of it. Well, as the saying goes, there’s no use flogging a dead horse. If you’ve fallen out of love with it put it away for a bit. Store it on your hard drive and write something different. When you go back to said story you will see it with new eyes, maybe you’ll discover a new enthusiasm for it and then you can send it out into the world again.
Above all. DON’T GIVE UP! And if you feel like you need a good slap with a wet fish to keep you writing and submitting then give me a call. I’m always willing to help out a fellow author in need!
So take that, rejection. You’ve just got to keep on writing, keep on submitting and never say never!