I have a story acceptance to report, woot! Also one hold request. More on these delightful occurrences later.
I also have a ton of rejections to report, but you don’t want to hear about that, do you? It’s easy to talk of our acceptances, our small triumphs – they are the rewards of months of perseverance and determination. It’s less easy to talk of our rejections, although Sunil Patil has made an art of it (I recommend checking out his twitter rejection feed).
Rejection is embedded in every step of the writing game – whether you are querying a novel or simply looking for a home for your short story. You just have to grin and bear it and move on. Over the last year or two, I’ve come to realize that a few things help along the way:
Be part of a crit group
Share your stories with other writers who write in your genre and are at a similar level. It’s great to give and get feedback and be able to improve your writing. It’s even more wonderful to be able to share writing tips, market information, and your successes, few and far between as they may be. Writing conferences and conventions are good places to find writerly friends. (That’s where I found mine).
Make a submission plan
That sounds way more organized than I am. I mean, know where you are going to submit your novel or your story next, after the current (likely) rejection. That way, when the rejection email comes, you don’t glare at it and throw your laptop out of the window. You simply send the story to the next market on your list. I highly recommend using the Submission Grinder to track your submissions and hunt for markets.
Don’t give up on your story
Okay, there are some dark things that should never see the light of day, but for the most part, if you’ve workshopped your story, rewritten, revised, and researched the markets to submit it to, there is no call to give up on it just because a few editors have rejected it. Some stories will find a home on their first or second submission. Some may take twenty or thirty tries. That said…
Work on multiple writing projects
Don’t be that would-be novelist who keeps querying her first novel and dies slowly with every form rejection. Send that novel or story out into the world, and then write another one. And another. Try different genres, different story lengths, different Points of View. Experiment. Have fun! Because that’s why you write, isn’t it? (Nobody said anything about making money, please.)
Never, ever argue with a rejection note
It’s not personal. Don’t make it personal. I shouldn’t even have to mention this, it’s an extremely amateur and foolish thing to do and wastes everyone’s time.
And that’s it from me. And while I was writing this, I received another rejection. I am going to celebrate with chocolate. Not my rejections, not even my acceptances. But me, my work and my stories, that I love to write, and that I hopefully send out into the world now and then.
Congrats on your latest acceptance! Woo-hoo!
And yes to all of this. Your post comes at a fitting time for me, when I’m collecting rejections and listening to crickets… And yes to celebrating all our successes–whether that is finishing a draft, getting good feedback from someone you trust, sending a story out to market, OR getting that elusive acceptance e-mail.
Hang in there and keep writing! I had 45 continuous rejections in 2015 before my most recent sale.