Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

On Rejection February 15, 2013


Honest confession:  I just got a rejection on a full and it has me in a funk. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, I thought I’d use the situation to pose this question today: How do you as a writer handle rejection?


Do you curl up into the fetal position and insist you’ll never write again? Do you push your manuscript aside, and start on a new project, trying to avoid the pain altogether? Or do you pull up your big boy or big girl pants and settle in for another round of edits and revisions, knowing the pain only makes you stronger.


Honestly, I fall into all three categories. At first, rejection to me is like a punch in the stomach.  I instantly think of myself as a hack and want to throw in the towel.  Than an hour or two passes and I’m back at my laptop, trying to work on something new. But a day later, the story I love is sucking me back into its deep realm, promising with just a few edits that this one will be THE ONE an agent will want.


I console myself during these periods with several things:


1) I know and have interviewed many published authors who have had their share of rejection.  I find solace in the fact that some had to write 3, 4, even 5 manuscripts before they got an agent.  Their stories always buoy my confidence and give me a sense of hope.


2) Agent validation helps.  Even though the rejection comes with a “this is not for me” response, many have commented on the strength of my story and writing.  In my darker periods, I go back to these emails and reread those responses, trying to convince myself I’m on the right path.


3) Surround myself with people who are going through the same thing.  When writer friends, who I know are talented, are getting those rejections too, it makes me feel less alone in the giant world of publishing.


So writers, I’d like to know how you handle rejection?  Do you feel like giving up on the dream sometimes? Do you ever wonder why you’re putting yourself through this self-inflicted torture?  What are your coping mechanisms to help push you through the hard times?  Please share with me in the comments.  I know we could all learn from each other.



25 Responses to “On Rejection”

  1. ” Do you ever wonder why you are putting yourself through this self-inflicted torture?” Yes, definitely. I get so anxious BEFORE sending my queries that it’s already a kind of torture. I think that, although a rejection on a full must suck, I’d love to get a request for a full that leads to a rejection anyway. It’s true – we writers crave agent validation.

    • Hi there! Thanks for your comment! Yes the road to publication is fraught with ups and downs. But I truly believe that if you never give up, it will happen one day! Good luck with your writing!

  2. january11555 Says:

    Thanks for sharing that. I’ve been through those same reactions about my bookwriting – sometimes I read my manuscript and think ‘man, who wrote that? it’s really good’ – other times I read and think ‘who the heck do you think you are, trying to write a book? sounds like a first grader wrote this.’ And now the whole ‘writing a query’ is beating me down. Haven’t quit yet though, thanks to posts like these that are full of encouragement. Best to you!

  3. Kirsten Joan Says:

    Yeah I get so overwhelmed that I get frozen Need to read posts like this and remember they would not be in business without us writers…’s a numbers thing….keep on rollin…..

  4. […] On Rejection ( […]

  5. thebaffledo0queen0ocomposing Says:

    I just got a rejection on a full today and I think I fall into category 3. It’s a lousy feeling, but at least people are reading a commenting on my novel, and that’s a huge step forward from where I was last time I wrote a novel. I just have to believe that sooner or later I’m going to find a perfect fit for this one. Hope you will, too! Best of luck!

    • Hi there:

      Thanks for sharing your story with me. I admire the fact that you get knocked down but get up and keep writing. I’ve learned that it is those who never give up, who eventually succeed in the end. Good luck to you!

  6. karenleehallam Says:

    I got my first rejection on a full. It was from a huge agency. But while I work on another MS, I’m not giving up on a story I’ve enjoyed as much as others (beta readers) and in the mean time, I have two other full’s out. 🙂
    Still one never knows. The best thing to do is keep writing. Because writing makes us feel good.

  7. lauralanni Says:

    No amount of rejection can knock the need to write out of a writer.

  8. michelle4laughs Says:

    I listen to some sad music, overdose on chocolate, email my CP’s for consolation, then let it fade into the background. Que sera, sera. Good news strikes when you least expect it.

    • Hi Michelle:

      Thanks for your comment. I totally agree, you need to mope for a bit, but then get over it. I love the fact that I can turn to the writing community for solace. It makes you feel less alone in this process. Good luck on your journey and I hope you get an agent soon!

  9. I stare at the email for a few moments. If it contained feedback, I email the agent and thank them. Then I stare at the email again, wonder what *I* did wrong. Followed by pulling up the big girl panties, store the notes on a document, save it in the designated folder to refer to during edits.

    But, like you, I take heart that it’s a long road filled with potholes and plenty of rejections are forthcoming. I’ve stocked up on coffee and chocolate.

    • Thanks for your comment, T.J. I know it’s a long road and that there will most likely be more “nos” before a “yes.” I just need to stay confident in my work and press on. And yes, chocolate and coffee do help!

  10. deshipley Says:

    Ugh, rejection is the absolute pits.

    When a big one hits me, I mope. But moping for me is more of an attitude than an action. It means I droop and sigh and rage and cry…while sending off another query (THIS agent will want me!), or looking at my catalog of manuscripts for a different novel to send out (THIS book will make that agent that turned me down want me!), or brainstorming a new story idea (THIS one will blow everything else I’ve ever written out of the water; I’ll have to turn down agents left and right!). So I guess mine is a productive pain.

    I may not always feel hopeful, but I keep going as if I do. Because as awful as rejection is, I know acceptance is *amazing*. If I’ve got to slog through the low of the “no”s to get to the high of the “yes”s, then that’s what I’ll do, for as long as it takes. And if you want it hard enough, I know you’ll do the same. Hang tough, Amy.

    • Thanks as always for your great comment, de. I love how you take the rejection as a chance to empower yourself. It’s a great way to handle the sadness that comes with the rejection. I’m keeping good thoughts that you get an agent soon!

  11. Amy, I know exactly how this feels. I like to hit the gym and listen to some angry chick rock (Kelly Clarkston helps a lot) and then run myself into a stupor until I feel powerful again. Keep your head up, girl. You are talented, smart and hard working. That yes is just around the corner.

  12. faithandrews Says:

    Every time I get a rejection I send out another round of queries. I know that sounds silly but with every form rejection they say “this business is subjective” and I keep that in mind, thinking that there is an agent who is going to love my book. I just received a rejection on a full but received 2 more requests for fulls after I revamped my query and edited the hell out of my ms. I have my fingers crossed like crazy for these other 2, but there is still the likelihood that I can get 2 rejections, right? All this being said, I tend to be a very negative person, but someone told me that someone told them that 95% of those who never reach their dreams are the ones who gave up. So I’m not giving up!!!

    • Hi Faith:
      Thanks for your comment! This is what I love about the writing community, sharing our communal anguish over rejection and how we get through it. Good luck on your journey. I hope you get an agent soon!

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