Question: How do you deal with rejection after rejection after rejection?

The Kinder Muse Responds. . .

Thank you for your question, Leila*. Rejection is something that many writers – no matter what their level of experience and publication history – deal with. While we may feel that we’re being personally rejected, it’s highly unlikely. . .(Unless, of course, we have said – or written – something to the editors that caused them to not want to work with us.) In general, it’s our work that is being declined – not us.

Here are just a few possible reasons:

  • The publication’s slush pile is cascading over the desk and covering the floor.
  • The publication has already accepted a story (or poem or article, etc.) similar to yours.
  • The submission guidelines aren’t being honored.
  • The article, poem, story, novel, etc. needs a professional edit and/or a major revision.
  • There are way too many formatting issues, typos, overused, and misused words. (See entry above).
  • The article, etc. is not being sent to the appropriate market.
  • The editor(s) are individuals with their own unique tastes, so it’s possible the story, etc. doesn’t resonate.

I could go on and on, but will stop there.

Serious writers keep at it. It’s like the definition of courage: going bravely forward even when you’re afraid. In this case, being afraid of NEVER being published can rally you to refocus.

Once upon a time, long, long ago, a very successful author who was editor-in-chief of a magazine I dreamed of being in, told me that I had a gift for writing. He followed this by saying it was my persistence that would make a difference. Eventually, I found myself in said coveted zine and a regular columnist. I remind myself of this all the time – and am grateful he took the time to not only personalize his “rejection slip” to me but mentor me as well.

Just remember how much you love to write! Seriously. Focus on being accepted. Visualize your name and story in the Table of Contents. And as another one of my mentors told me: Write like every piece you sell is worth six figures. . .even when they pay in contributor copies.

Envision your success!


*Not her real name as she asked to be anonymous.

%d bloggers like this: