Taking Rejection like a Boss

I am the Rejection Queen! Watch me laugh in the face of defeat!

Actually, I don’t consider receiving a rejection letter to be a defeat. Not anymore. I don’t love rejection emails, but they don’t ruffle me like they used to. When I first started submitting stories to magazines, anthologies and competitions (four years ago, almost to the day), every ‘it’s not for us’ email stung. I cried once or twice, wondering if I’d ever get anywhere with writing. Over the next year or two I had a couple of positive replies, the occasional writing ‘win’, but so few and far between! Still, as time went on, rejection emails affected me less and less. I grew a thicker skin and began to believe in myself, just a little.

These days, I read the email and move on. Mostly I feel neutral, like I do when I’m cleaning my teeth. Sometimes I sigh, but that’s about it. I’ve decided it’s simply a numbers game. Write, re-write, polish, send out. Write, re-write, polish, send out. I don’t wait for replies on anything – I just go on to the next project. (Or sometimes I bake. There are times when cake is needed first.) I figure spending time mourning a story not accepted just gets in the way of finding the next possible placement for that piece, or blocks the writing of a fresh, new story.

I just counted them up, and since my very first submission, I have sent out 89 pieces (many of these are repeat submissions). I try to have at least ten stories out at any one time. Currently I have twelve pieces out there in the big, wide world, so I’m happy with that. I figure all I can do is write the best work I can and send it to well-suited homes. The rest is in the lap of the writing gods.

I’m hoping for some good news soon. I’m ready for an acceptance email or a competition win. But if nothing happens, if the next writing mail is a rejection, I’ll pull on my big girl panties, adjust my Rejection Queen tiara, (make a quick red velvet cake) and take it like a boss.

*Feel free to leave a comment … I wrote this in the hope that other writers might feel less alone, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.*

4 thoughts on “Taking Rejection like a Boss

  1. You are amazing! And much more courageous than me. In all the time I’ve been writing, I’ve barely sent anything out. Two reasons: I don’t much like writing short stories, so I’ve only written a couple. I know I should try harder, and they’re good practice, etc., but I’d much rather write a novel or an essay. The other reason is that I fear the rejection. I have loads of essay-type pieces half-finished or that just need tidying up, but I haven’t got around to it. Now you’ve inspired me and I’m going to! Thanks for this, Fi. x

  2. Not amazing … I just really want to improve, and like most writers I want to be read, so I just keep writing and sending. It could be seen as amazing *stupidity* but I prefer to call it persistence. Or tenacity!
    I also wanted to be honest about how much I’ve sent out in order to get the few wins and publications I’ve had – because no one puts that in their bio! (understandably!) I hoped other emerging writers would take heart to know there are a heck of a lot of rejections mixed in with successes, in almost any writers life. (I once read an interview with an author of a couple of short story collections who said his first 78 stories were rejected before he had one published. Talk about determination!)
    I’m glad you’ve been inspired to complete some of your work … I look forward to reading it in the future!

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