Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

storm moving across a field
March 18, 2011

Surviving Rejects

by Charlotte Carter

Every writer gets rejects. But they don’t have to be demoralizing.

Some years ago I was writing magazine articles. I’d allow myself ten rejects per article then moved onto something else. (I did manage to sell a ‘few’ articles, but what a struggle!)

During that time I had my annual physical exam. The first thing my doctor asked was “How are you feeling?” I responded I was depressed and explained about the rejections. What he said next has stuck with me all these years.

“If you know why you are depressed, you’re okay.”

Years later, when I started writing novels and began to pile up rejects, I remembered his comment. I was much better able to shrug off the pain and disappointment of a rejection letter.

Sure, I grieved a little. Twenty-four hours was the max. Then I got back to my writing. I did not let the rejection get me down.

Here’s another trick I use: As soon as I send one manuscript or proposal off, I start on another project. If the first proposal is rejected, I know the new project I’m working on will sell. Editors will be clamoring to buy my brilliant work! (Well, maybe not clamoring, but my optimism buoys my spirits and keeps me going.)

I’m also adamant about not keeping rejections I receive. (I do, however, keep a record of where I or my agent has sent my material and the result.) I read the rejections, learn from them if I can, and toss them. I don’t even paper the bathroom with the clever and potentially deflating prose. I don’t need to keep that negativity in my house.

Having a lot of writer friends, either online or in person, helps too. You can whine to them and they understand. Every published author has tales of their own rejects and how they overcame the disappointment.

So don’t let those pesky rejects stop you. Keep on writing.

Books that leave you smiling
 from Love Inspired:
    Big Sky Reunion, 4/2011
    Big Sky Family, 11/2011

0 comments on “Surviving Rejects”

  1. This is a great post on rejection. Excellent advice from your doctor! I never thought of it that way. But the worst times I feel down are when I'm not sure what's wrong. If I'm upset because of a rejection, I'm doing okay. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Kinley, you're right about being frustrated when you don't know what's wrong with your story. That's a good time to take a walk around the block, get a writer friend to read your project (or a really good Beta reader but not your mother, father or husband ). I've found the learning curve steep and endless; you have to keep on keeping on. Good luck!

  2. I really like the idea of starting something new right away. It really gives me that feeling that there is more for me to write. And having someone to commiserate with really does help!

  3. Lynn, thanks for your comment. The best reject is one you can learn from. Unfortunately, most editors don't have that much time to spend on rejects. As you say, Write On!

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