Everyone deals with rejection. One of the first things I was told when I decided to send my work out for someone else to read it was, “You realize you will be rejected?”
First thing that went through my mind at the time was, “Can’t be. This is a great story.” Back then I believed that if the right editor found the story, then fate would shine on me and all would go according to some perfect plan.
Now I’m a little further into my career, and I know that rejection is inevitable. Stephen King is said to have a wall of rejection letters. I think I might, too, some day. Not that being rejected is something to brag about. It stinks. Royally. But then again, it’s part of this business called Writing for Publication. What I might think is the bees knees is bo-ring to someone else.
So what do I do to deal with it?
I’d like to say I go with the theory that whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. But I’m human. My heart and soul went into the manuscript I submitted. So, that rejection might knock me down a few pegs for a while.
In some instances, this works well. In others, not so much. I had one editor tell me to make the story revolve around the heroine and hero more. That was it. A bit ambiguous, but doable. Another told me the ending wasn’t believable. Okay, I can work with that, too. When they say, “This isn’t for me.” Well that’s a little harder pill to swallow. What didn’t work? Not sure. How to change it? No clue.
So what do I do?
Honestly, I reach for a Milano milk chocolate cookie. Just one. No need to wallow in it. I reward myself for having put myself out there. Lots of people squirrel away their work because they fear that it will be rejected. So I toast the fact that I tried, even if it’s not what they wanted and the reaction isn’t one I wanted.
I’ll admit that I’ve been driven to tears by rejections. Yes, I’m a mortal and being told my story isn’t good enough can feel like I’m being told I’m not good enough—even when the editor says my voice is great and the pacing is awesome.
I know I’m not in this alone. Lots of people get the dreaded email or letter that leaves their baby a homeless orphan. I take just a bit of comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one.
In the end, what I focus on is making the story the best it can be. It may still be shot down, but I know I tried. And believe it or not, I usually get to the point of tackling the edits the night I get the rejection. Sometimes this is a good thing because my creative juices are flowing. Other times, not nearly so good because my emotions are flowing instead.
I’ve had some cases where I’ve put the story aside and not picked it back up. I’ve had others where I jumped in and managed a contract out of it after that rejection. All I know is that rejection is a part of the writing process. It does make me stronger, if for nothing else than I’ve grown a thicker skin and I’m more determined to help the characters in my head see the light of publication. I don’t write for the money, I write to satisfy the characters arguing for their say. So, even if those characters never find a home, at least I got their story told and no rejection is going to stop me from trying again and again.
Wendi will be giving away the winner’s choice of either an eBook copy of “Right Where I Need to Be” or “Learning How to Bend” to one randomly drawn commenter from the tour.
More About Wendi ZwadukI always dreamed of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line.
I earned a BA in education at Kent State university and currently hold a Masters in Education with Nova Southeastern University.
I love NASCAR, romance, books in general, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, and my menagerie of animals.
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