Rejection is a part of every writer’s life. It’s as essential to the journey as words, and as certain. But dealing with rejection well…. that pressure to succeed, that push to be great that lies within each one of us runs up against a hundred politely-worded letters telling us we haven’t made it…. and grinds many promising writers to dust in the process. Learning to be comfortable with rejection has been a journey of several years, one I’m still learning. But I do know that neither retreat nor despair is acceptable. Like an actor going on countless auditions, every submission is an opportunity for a yes. For a job that might lead to the next. Or a blow to our egos from which we might never recover. The choice is ours.
I received a heartbreaking email from a girl in my online writer’s group this weekend. She had just received two major rejections, one from a professional-level workshop and one from the Writers of the Future contest, both of which would have been feathers in her cap. But she’s still in the running for this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, and she has potential if she won’t give up.
Here’s what I told her in response to the email: