by Dorcree "Hair Game 100" Thomas, Art team member
No writer is immune to the bitter sting of rejection. If you consider yourself a writer and have been on this journey for a while then it’s highly likely that you too, have faced your share of rejection letters, but fear not, rejection is not always as bad as it seems. Some of the greatest writers did not find success the first time around. It took persistence, faith, and knowing that no matter what happened, or how many times they were rejected, giving up was not an option. As a member of Grub Street, we receive thousands of submission a year, but not everyone will be accepted. This post will show all inspiring writers how to see rejection as a way to grow, and thrive. First and foremost rejection:
1. Shines a Light on Our Inner Critic
Our inner critic can be very helpful sometimes, helping us to spot plot holes, errors, and characters who are not well developed in our stories. This is the reason why most writers never publish their first draft. Its because it goes against everything the inner critic believes in, which is, “You can do better.” When used effectively the inner critic can help writers to reach their fullest potential. However, when that inner voice turns hostile, it helps us to see how we can scare ourselves into writer's block, unwilling to write due to the fear of rejection. To combat the shadow side of the inner critic, perseverance is a must, and so is challenging what the inner critic tells you. Self criticism should be constructive, valuable, and most importantly compassionate. Instead of self persecution, (acting as if a rejection is the end of the world), focus more on self correcting, and find ways to improve your writing. It helps by remembering that a rejection letter, or email is usually “Never Personal.” The editor is not condemning you or even your work. Often, its just not the right time, or the writing piece is not what the editors were looking for. Maybe someone else met the criteria, but remember this should not discourage you, but instead motivate you to improve!
2. Rejection Letters are Proof that You Do Not Give Up Easily
We often hear stories of writers who are published and become bestsellers. One thing these types of writers have in common is the amount of rejection letters they piled up over the years. JK Rowling, and Stephen King are two well known, best selling authors who were rejected time and time again before they were able to catch a publishing deal. This is what made them so inspiring, not the fact that they were published, but how they never gave up despite how many rejection they received over the years.
Most people want the fame and success that comes with publishing a popular novel, but rarely do they think about the process. Rejection is a part of that process, and its time we stopped looking at rejection as the end, and started looking at it as the beginning of greater things to come.
3. Rejection Is a Call to Action!
Rejection is valuable no matter how much we try to deny it. Sometimes rejection tells us that our work is lacking in some area, and there is space to improve. Rejection teaches us how to make things better when we focus less on the rejection itself, and more, on how we can avoid making the mistakes that led to being rejected. We can do this by working on our craft daily. A good writer, writes often, and is usually overcome with motivation after receiving a reject letter.
Writers who have never experienced rejection are hard to relate to or root for, because its seems so unreal, and unauthentic. Rarely will the majority of aspiring writers get it right the first time, and those who do are far and few in between. It is always best to accept rejection as a part of life as a writer, because we are always growing and getting better at our craft. For every rejection there is improvement to be made, and the best part, your unlikely to make the same mistake again.
I hope this helps aspiring writers to overcome their fear of rejection. It is a path that almost every writer will go down, and although it can sting because nobody likes being rejected, it is necessary. However, rejection is never permanent and your writing will improve from it!
Grub Street is Towson University's award-winning literary journal, run by undergraduates enrolled in "Editing the Literary Magazine."