Part of what’s great about being an author isn’t getting rejection letters. In fact, it sort of ranks up there with stepping on a nail, burning yourself on the stove or getting punched in the throat.
But, make no mistake; it’s important and you need it.
You can’t grow without being told something you did isn’t “quite right” for their publication (Or “it’s not a good fit” or “It’s just not for us” or…so on and so on.) It’s easy to get down about rejections. I have always gotten them and I still do. It’s cool. That’s what happens. The only time I get down about it even a little bit is when I get the “FORM” rejection. The best rejections are the ones that tell you why they’re saying no to you. “This is not right for our publication. Here’s why…” That’s a huge stepping stone. That’s a good thing. It absolutely helps and the fact that they are taking the time from going through a pile of stories to tell you why your story didn’t work shows that there is the spark of something there in your work. Polish that sucker up and send it out again.
There are some fellow writers I see on social media who complain about rejections, because we all do sometimes. You need to blow off steam. I’m not saying don’t get mad or upset, but don’t dwell on it. You’re a writer. Get to work. Take a few hours to bitch, then hit it. But damn, some of the stuff I see as complaints is insane. I read one that said (I shit you not) “Well, no one’s telling Stephen King no.”
I hate to break it to you, but YOU ARE NOT STEPHEN KING. You aren’t the new Stephen King. You’re not even the old Stephen King. You’re you. And right now, no one is thinking that you’re going to be the next Stephen King because there isn’t going to be a next Stephen King. We already have one, thanks.
And in case you missed it, Stephen King got told no a lot when he was starting out. Maybe not so much these days, but he still has an editor whose job it is to send him his work back with red ink all over it with notes like “Steve, wtf are you trying to say here?”* (I’d like to think that every once in a while, Stephen King still gets a rejection letter. If he doesn’t, part of me likes to think that he kind of wishes he still did.)
I’m writing this not because I’m so sage with my own writing, or that I know anything other or more than anyone else. I don’t. This is as close to “cheerleading” as I get these days. I don’t always write the uplifting things my inky pals write. I don’t do the #amwriting thing (I do use “#alwayswriting” because I usually am always working on something) But, I’ve seen a lot of discouraged posts from really good writers out there. One really good writer in particular seems to have given up the pen out of disappointment.
I think we all throw down the pen now and then, but when that happens, we need pick it the hell back up.
Just keep writing and more importantly, keep sending your work out. If it doesn’t work for one publication, give it another look, clean it up and send it somewhere else. Relax. Breathe. Or even better,
* I don’t think he gets notes like that, but that would be kinda funny.