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Monday, August 10, 2009

Rejections Are Good For You

Anyone with brains knows that if you intend to be a legitimately published writer, you’re going to get rejected not just once, but multiple times. It’s extremely rare for a writer to avoid rejection by publishers. But rejection isn’t such a bad thing.

I’m not sure where anti-rejection discussions come from, but it seems to me that if you’re going to complain about rejections, you’re in the wrong business. It’s part of the writing life, whether you’re an amateur who has yet to be published, or a professional with two hundred novels under your belt. Everyone gets rejected and having the right attitude about them can lessen their effects and teach you a few things in the process, such as:

--Having Thick Skin
Whether it’s a rejection or someone telling you that you suck, thick skin is important to have. And it doesn’t come easily. Even I have the occasional issue with taking criticism, but ultimately getting better at taking good or bad criticism in the form of a rejection, critique, or review will make you a better writer in the long run.

--Your Common Mistakes (or Mistakes You Didn’t Know About)
Sometimes a rejection will come with a note from the editor. These are important. Why? Because sometimes those notes contain information you might need to make your writing better. Not all notes matter, though. Some will hint at an editor’s personal preference in fiction, and some will simply tell you that you made a few mistakes on the front page (I received a note on a rejection from Analog that pointed me to some formatting errors).

And don’t forget that getting a rejection means you tried. How many wannabe writers out there never get that far? My guess is that most people who want to write, or say they do, never actually submit anything. What’s the saying? It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all? The same thing is true of writing and rejections. You’ll never get anywhere without trying.

So, to all those folks out there talking about why rejection sucks, think again. A rejection is certainly not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.

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