Rejection: The Hard, Cold Emotion


What Can I Say That Hasn’t Been Said?

It doesn’t take long in the writing business to see what a tsunami of good writers are out there, every one hoping for the same submission approval and/or agent acceptance as I am.

With equal size and volume are the rejections. 

“Thank you for submitting, … ” is the usual opening line of a rejection notice. I see those first four words before I even click open the email. The fifth word is inevitably “however.”

I know what will follow. I know how I’m going to feel.


The key is what happens next?

Dealing With the Aftermath.

The first time I heard her advice, I knew it would work for me.

Kristina McBride, author of books for teens with her fourth book The Bakersville Dozen recently out in August 2017, showed her workshop session a stack of papers, about three inches thick. All held together by a very big, heavy paperclip.

What were they? The rejection slips for her first novel.

It looked like at least a hundred rejection notices to me.

And what did she do when each one arrived in her mail? She let herself wallow in self pity.

Within a restricted time limit.

After a day or two of “woe is me,” she went back at it again and again and again.

Feel Bad. Then Move On.

When my work gets turned down, I feel awful. I make up reasons why “they’ didn’t accept it. I argue with myself as to why I keep writing.

I move through the rest of the day knowing how subjective the writing world is and allowing myself to feel bad about being rejected by it.

I take it personally. But only for so long.

No later than a day afterward, I am searching through my list of submission sites and agents. I am sending my stories out again.

If I didn’t, how else will someone have the opportunity of accepting my work?

A Side Bar to Rejection.

I don’t always maintain a steady flow of submitting the same story or manuscript, mindless of the rejections.

After a certain number of “thank you but no thank you,” I pause and reevaluate my novel or short story. Maybe I do need to improve something within the text.

Once I am satisfied with how the story or manuscript sounds and feels, I send it out to more people.

One of my submissions will receive an acceptance.

One of these days, I will be riding the tsunami.


“When you’re following your inner voice, doors tend to eventually open for you, even if they mostly slam at first.”  ~Kelly Cutrone. If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You.

What’s Outside Your Window?

DSCN0712Creating Focus and Change

Two days before the New Year 2018. Social Media is ablaze with posts about trends, changes, resolutions. Friends and Strangers speak of what they will do differently.

Writers pledge to be better writers. Pledge to become the change they wish to see in themselves–the ones who write every day, who submit their work regularly, who stick to a plan for being published.

So much anticipation.

I am such a writer.

The longer I am away from writing, the longer it takes for me to get back into a routine, which I used to think was for physical exercise alone. No, for me, it’s for writing as well.

The key is how do I switch back into daily writing, especially when it’s been over a month (since Thanksgiving) when I wrote anything for myself?

Find a Focal Point

I am not inclined to write well in a space with moving distractions. A cafe doesn’t work. I am too fascinated with the lady in the stiletto boots ordering a giant hot chocolate and chocolate croissant. Time slips by as I imagine a story for her life and disregard the lives I’m creating in my own stories.

What works better for me is the view outside my window, one of mainly overgrown shrubs, gnarly cedars and a moss-ridden lawn. Today, over three inches of snow cover the neighborhood and the freezing temps keep most walkers inside.

The social media temptations are put aside. The window blinds go completely up. I begin by staring out the window then I open up my computer. When I get stuck, I stare out the window again in search of a word or image that always brings me back to my paper notebook or computer screen.

I can see why many artists prefer nightfall. The windows are dark. The outside is quieter. Distractions are minimal. My window is black now. That works, too.

Is It Change or Rerouting?

I know how good it feels when I work on a story everyday. When the blog posts are more regular. It feels very good.

Today is the day I return to my focus. To my window when I need to look up from my work. Back to my page when I must apply what I’ve created in thought and put down into words.

Is it a change? Maybe it’s more of a rerouting.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.”

~Barak Obama