It’s Not You. Really.

  • By Barbara Irvin
  • March 9, 2015

Turning rejection into a positive experience

It’s Not You. Really.

Rejection. The word itself can create a lingering sense of uncertainly in a writer's conscience. If you've experienced this feeling of dread, and you most likely have at some point in your literary career, you’re not alone.

All writers, beginning and established, receive rejection letters. It’s unavoidable. Feeling angry and disappointed is common, especially after you've opened that first letter. You've put so much time and effort into making your book, short story, or article the best you can, and now all of that hard work seems to have been wasted.

Not true.

Just because one editor passed on your manuscript or proposed idea doesn’t mean all the others will, too. It’s important to remain positive, because a motivated person makes for a confident writer.

Writing is like playing the lottery. You’re taking a chance every time you send something out. The risk is what makes it exciting. I experience a rush every time I submit a manuscript because I never know what the outcome will be. The rejections outnumber the acceptances, but this no longer matters to me. Determination is what keeps me moving forward.

Like many writers, I made the mistake of thinking editors were rejecting me personally when I began submitting my work. It took a long time to get over this. When I finally did, thanks to the help of some wonderful fellow authors, I started to understand my work was being turned down because it wasn’t the right fit for that market at that time.

So I forged ahead and kept on trying. Not only did the quantity of my writing increase, but the quality improved significantly. I began to see words of encouragement in the feedback I received. Having an editor tell me he or she wished me all the best in finding a place for my submission made a world of difference. I might not have been published very often, but I began to think of myself as a real writer.

The path to publication is a lengthy journey. When it finally happens, success is appreciated even more. So don’t become discouraged. Keep on writing and sending out those manuscripts. When the time is right, your words will show up in print.

Barbara Irvin has written for literary journals and newspapers. She studied freelance writing at Penn Foster Career School and is currently working on a novel. Her new column, Prose as Profession, will appear monthly in the Independent.

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