Nobody likes being rejected. But all writers are rejected. Rejection is part of the job. And this means that rejection is actually a Good Thing. I know that may come as a shock, but here’s why:
- If you’ve been rejected, it means you’ve actually written something in the first place!
- It also means that you’ve had the courage to send it off.
- You’ll appreciate the acceptance even more, when you receive it.
Ask anyone in a sales job if they have a 100% acceptance rate, and they’ll say no. (If they say yes then they’re lying!) As writers, that’s what we are, in a sales job, because we’re trying to sell our words to somebody else.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that rejection is a business decision. It’s not a personal one. A rejection is merely someone saying that those particular words are not right for that particular market at this particular time. I have experience of successfully selling the same article to a magazine editor ten years after he’d originally rejected it. The timing wasn’t right the first time. That's all.
Rejection is also subjective. I’ve sold articles to publications where previous editors have rejected them. It was the same article, targeting the same readership. All that had changed was the editor.
Yes, rejection hurts. Especially when you’ve put so much time and effort into creating your masterpiece - whether it be a letter to a readers’ letter page, or your latest novel. (And admittedly, having a novel rejected does hurt more because of how much time you’ve spent on the project.) But that hurt is only temporary. It’s not the end of the world. Just the end of that particular journey. One of the reasons rejections hurt is because we already have it mapped out in our minds how that journey will go - submission, acceptance, publication, payment - yay! A rejection puts a spanner in the works of that journey. It means the road ahead is closed, but they may be a diversion we can take. But, if you accept that rejection is part of the journey to publication, you can still arrive at your destination, even if the route turns out to be a little more circuitous than you originally planned.
It’s okay to feel despondent and annoyed when you’re rejected. But don’t let it cloud your judgment. There’s always hope in a new market. So the sooner you accept rejection as part of the job, the sooner you’ll be able to get back to writing something else.