Overcoming Rejection

Got rejection fatique?

September begins a busy season for agents and editors after the slow summer days in publishing. So if your desired agent seems less interested than you hoped, or you wait two long months and still don’t get a response to a query, here’s some advice to keep you sane, courtesy of this week’s guest blogger, Maria Rainier, a freelance writer and blogger.

Overcoming Rejection

Unfortunately, most writers know rejection intimately. Even the most gifted writers have been met with dozens of rejection letters. Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times before it was published (and went on to win the Newberry Award).  Finding ways to keep those rejection letters in perspective and to keep trying is what pushes writers to eventual success. Here are a few tips to help you move past rejection:

Expect It

Rejection is more common than acceptance. There are thousands of writers out there all trying to be published in the same limited number of magazines and by the same handful of book publishers. You may be a gifted writer trying to sell a brilliant work of prose, but still face rejection because you pitched it to the wrong publisher; a similar piece was recently published; market fluctuations have decreased; demand for the type of work you’re selling, and so on. You may even just catch the editor on a bad day. Remember that rejection may have nothing at all to do with you or your talents as a writer.

Use it to Find Motivation

If your work continues to be rejected, set it aside and take some time away from it. When you look at it again, try to do so objectively. What can you do better? How can you improve as a writer? Use rejection to make your work better. Devote more time honing your skills and developing your work, then re-submit the work with the confidence that you have improved as a writer and have produced a stronger piece.

Use it to Open Doors

Sometimes, the work you submit just isn’t a good fit for whatever reason: It doesn’t have the right tone, the timing is off, or the publisher is just in the market for another style. However, your work may still catch the attention of a publisher, leading to other opportunities. Perhaps you will be asked to write another piece for publication, or the publisher may talk to you about what other work you have available to submit. Rejection doesn’t have to be the final “no”.

Rejection is always hard, and it is difficult not to see it as a condemnation of your writing and you as a person. However, maintaining an objective attitude can help you see rejection as a way to improve and to strengthen your talents. What other ways have you found helpful for overcoming the sting of rejection?


Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and recent graduate of Elon University. She is currently a resident blogger at an online degree resource site, where recently she’s been researching different online aa business administration opportunities and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.


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