While rejection letters may feel like the equivalent of Bobby sticking a ‘Kick me!’ sign on your back in grade school, they’re a non-negotiable part of being a writer. Even if you’re tempted to never pick up a pen again after your latest rejection letter, there’s still a place for your work out there; you just have to find it. Here are a few things to remember so you can bounce back from rejections.
Rejections are subjective
If you pitch the same article to two different editors, you’ll end up with two completely different responses. One editor may tell you they didn’t like the story or the writing style, whereas the other editor might love the writing but not see it as a fit for their editorial calendar. It’s important to remember that rejections are subjective, not personal.
“I think all great innovations are built on rejections.” Louis-Ferdinand Céline
You can learn from rejections
While your latest rejection letter is subjective and based on the opinion of the person who sent it, there may still be something to learn from it. Ask yourself your writing was rejected because you haven’t found the right home for it or if the writing just isn’t ready to be published yet. It’s a humbling question to ask but it’s helpful no matter which answer you come up with.
You should celebrate your rejections
Okay, admittedly your first reaction to receiving another rejection is not going to be popping the champagne or throwing confetti in the air. However, there’s always one very good thing about a rejection letter: it means you tried! And that’s more than a lot of would-be writers can say for themselves.
“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” – Sylvia Plath
Keep on writing
The most important thing to do after receiving a rejection letter is to keep on writing. Get your pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and work on the next piece you want to submit. You can even imagine that Dory is cheering you on from the sidelines. “Just keep writing. Just keep writing.”
Do your best to happily accept the fact that you’ll be getting rejection letters throughout your writing career. Keeping a positive mindset will help you bounce back from rejections letters, and make the occasions where your writing is accepted feel that much better.