Last week I was responsible for putting up the RoomtoWrite short story long list on the website. To my great delight and surprise, when we finished judging the competition and then matched stories to writers, I discovered that several of the longlisted writers subscribe to my newsletter!
So big congratulations to those on the long list and those who go on to win but I can’t help thinking about the writers who submitted but weren’t chosen. I’ve been there. I’ve entered competitions and come nowhere. I’ve had a number of novels rejected and I know how it feels. Rejection is hard to take and anyone who says otherwise is not being truthful. So for all writers everywhere, here’s my take on rejection. It’s from my book From Writing With Love which is on special offer on Kindle all week – at just 99p -do read the reader reviews. You can find it HERE
Cream Cakes and Wine
Rejection slips, or letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them ~ Isaac Asimov
Dealing with rejection is tough but it’s part and parcel of being a writer. Rotten Rejections: The Letters that Publishers Wish They’d Never Sent is a collection of rejection letters sent by publishers to writers – many of the authors are now famous and the books are classics:
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D H Lawrence – for your own sake do not publish this book.
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame – an irresponsible holiday story
Lord of the Flies, William Golding – an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.
When you get that rejection letter, or these days more likely that email, don’t despair, you’re in good company. Try not to take it personally after all we are not our novel, no matter how close we feel to it and this is just one person’s opinion. Here are my rules (in this case I think rules are needed!) for dealing with rejection:
Be disappointed – swear, shout, stamp your feet, proclaim the unfairness to anyone who will listen, vow never to submit anything ever again… then get over it.
Keep believing in your work. Know there are people out there who would love it – call it their book of the year. It’s true, it happened to me with The Sweet Track which finally made it after a fair few rejections.
Send it out again – do not give up and/or find a way to share it with the world, e publishing, self-publishing, blogs etc.
Learn what you can from it then write the next thing, keep writing, keep writing, keep writing, keep…….this is crucial. Involving yourself in the next project keeps you from dwelling on the disappointment.
Try not to blame others and don’t fall into the envy trap it just makes you bitter and twisted
Love your life and love writing – write down 3 good things a day, everyday
Buy cream cakes, talk it over with a writing friend and a bottle of wine.
Follow my rules and believe me in a couple of days it won’t feel half as bad and soon it will be forgotten.