As my writing work load has slowly been growing, I have been getting more rejection letters, and it is my natural reaction to feel defeated by these rejection letters. I’m sure some of you who come to this blog are writers yourself, and therefore you understand that unique stabbing in your heart when you read, “Your piece just doesn’t fit what we are looking for at this time. Please, know this is not a reflection on the quality of your work.”
But secretly, you know this is just a canned reply akin to the automated virtual assistant on the telephone. There is no real conviction behind the words, and you know they send the same letter to people who can barely put two sentences together and to those writers who are good but perhaps missed on theme or genre. So your mind asks, “Which one am I?” And of course, your uncivilized self always replies: “The worst.”
It is time, however, to take that natural negativity in hand and school a little discipline into those undisciplined thoughts of mine. Rejection notices may seem inherently negative, but here is one huge reason why they are not negative at all.
Rejection letters are a sign that you are working.
They are a sign that you are trying. Every writer, no matter their genre, will tell you that rejection letters are the norm. You will count your career in a ratio of rejection to acceptance, and the rejection number will be higher. You won’t always receive any comments either on what could be improved. More and more you have to pay extra for those kinds of services or find a workshop somewhere that can supply them. But the rejection letters you receive symbolize your enduring hope and commitment to your craft. You could view them as the pulse which indicates your heart is still beating.
I know of writers who set rejection goals for themselves, something like fifty rejection letters in a year, and they strive to meet it even if they get acceptances along the way. Establishing a voice in a world over-saturated with screamers is not an easy thing to do, and the amount of rejection letters we writers receive will directly correlate with the amount of work we are putting into our writing.
© 2022 Katie Baker
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