Submissions: Handling Rejection

It hurts, doesn’t it? Your first rejection letter. That apologetic email or letter informing you that what you submitted is not what that website, agent, or publisher is looking for at this time. Suddenly, you have to learn how to deal with a surge of negative emotions and thoughts. How can you get past this and continue to write and submit your writing with the same confidence that you had before?

This month, we have been thinking about submissions. We have discussed whether we are ready to submit our writing, who we want to submit our writing to, whether we should pay to submit our writing, and the necessity and importance of submission guidelines (just follow them!). Today, we’re going to think about some useful ways to handle rejection.

Keep Calm

Most, if not all, of your favourite writers received plenty of rejection slips before they finally got published. Stephen King, for instance, famously nailed his rejection letters to the wall (and, when the nail could no longer hold the weight, he used a spike). So remember that we all go through this, and do your best to remain calm.

Be Persistent

You may have failed on your first time (and your second, and your third, and your fourth, and …) – but so what? If we all stopped the instant that we got set back, then none of us would ever get anywhere. You know that you can write well, so believe in yourself and keep trying.

Take Criticism on Board (and turn it into something positive!)

Nobody likes criticism, but it can be the kick that we need to make our writing even better. We need to be aware of our weak points, so that we can beat them over the head with a shovel and then bury them.

Go Back to Your Origins

Why did you begin writing in the first place? Yes, we all love the idea of seeing our books on the shelves in bookshops, but that isn’t why we started writing. Try to insert that sense of fun, development, and desire that you had in the beginning back into your writing time. Don’t let yourself get dragged down into perfecting your writing for publishers or agents if the rejections start to get to you. Take a break from it all to give your confidence a re-boost.

Those are the best methods that I have found to handle rejections. What do you do to put energy and positivism back into your writing after a rejection? Let me know in the comments below.

This month’s theme is SUBMISSIONS. If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of submissions and publishing, then please post a link in the comments or email me on with the subject: Submissions.

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