Learning to Deal with Rejection

As a writer rejection comes with the territory. It took me a long time to understand that rejection was something you just have to let go of. (I'm still learning).

As a writer starting out rejection comes from agents and editors, perhaps even friends and family.

Here's the thing- rejection never ends.

As a published author, you are still rejected. You may not get a new book contract. You may have people who hate your books. Not may, YOU WILL.

It still hurts when people don't like my books, but I've come to a place where I understand that just not everyone will. I can only write for the people who like my books, I can't worry about the people who don't.

Here are the things I wish I knew about dealing with rejection when I was starting out as a writer:

1. It lets you know what you're doing wrong. If you're lucky the people who reject you will tell you why. (I make voodoo dolls out of people who do not)
2. It lets you know what you're doing right. If you're lucky people will tell you what they like even though they rejected you. (I loooove these people)
3. It lets you know that you need to work harder. Usually you do. Usually rejection is not about talent at all, but about trying again and again and again. (It took me 5 years, two agents and an unknown number of publishers to sell my "first" novel)
4. It gives you motivation. There is nothing better than the push that comes from someone rejecting your work.(well after you eat chocolate and drink vodka and lick your wounds) It makes you want to show them and yourself that you can do it!
5. It makes small successes sweeter.

What would you add?


  1. Great post! I couldn't have said it better and it's nice to know other writers feel the same way. Rejections reminds us that we're trying. That we're doing a very brave thing by continuing to put ourselves out there. Oh, I and like the VooDoo doll idea.

  2. UGH, rejection is awful. I had one night where I got rejected from 3 agents and then requests for partials from two. I have never had such extreme emotions at once before.

    BTW, there is a virtual voo doo doll site where you can --ah... never mind :)

  3. It keeps us human. If we got nothing but praise, we might start living in an unrealistic bubble, or have a diminished ability to sympathize with people's struggles.

  4. The period of pre-publication rejection also sharpens your revision skills. All acquired work is revised, and you have to know how to do it quickly and how to do it well. I'll always be grateful for my 7 1/2 years of solid rejection for this very reason.

  5. Rejection does make success sweeter, but I'd be okay with less rejection and a lot more success. Just sayin'.


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