Surviving Writers Rejection
Written by
Aine Greaney
May 2015
Written by
Aine Greaney
May 2015

I still remember that day when my then-publisher rejected my second book, which was to have been Book 2 in a two-book contract.  

In retrospect, I'm sure that editor was justified. The book was a huge 180-degree switch from the first book, it wasn't very plot driven, and it was, she said,  "very dark in places."  

Etcetera. Etcetera. 

Now, over a decade later, it's not so much the editorial rationales that I remember most, but my  own sorrow.

I'm not proud to admit this,  but I did actually take to my bed.  I did actually weep into my pillow. I did actually believe that I would never publish anything again. 

I was wrong about that last part.  A few editing rounds later, the novel was published and even garnered some awards and recognition. 

I was also wrong to waste my tears, to let a writer's rejection reduce me to a level of grief and sorrow that I should save for life's big traumas-- like death or illness. 

And yet ...

Even the toughest writer feels that sting of rejection, especially for that piece of writing that we hold dear. We know that the decision to publish Writer A over Writer B is often about an editor's personal taste, about right-place-right-time marketability.

 I've been writing for most of my life and writing for publication for over 20 years now. While some editors' rejections are justified and actually helpful, others hit us personally.

This week, I was delighted to find  this article, "3 Eye-Opening Lessons for Rethinking Rejection" at "World of Psychology."

This section rang especially true for me: 

“Rejection doesn’t just sting. It makes us question or dismiss whatever we’ve created. It makes us question ourselves as individuals. It confirms our worst nightmares, our inner critic’s blistering beliefs. It shakes up our self-worth, and hurts us at our core”

 "3 Eye-Opening Lessons For Rethinking Rejection" not only offers comfort, but also nudges us toward some self-analysis and, therefore, resilience. Where does our fear of rejection come from? How much does that fear hold us back from new or true projects? Worse, is our fear of rejection making us write for the market, not for literary quality or authenticity? 

For a writer, these--not the editor's personal tastes or rationale--are the big, big questions to ask. 

If you're like me, you probably have your own strategies or tips for bouncing back from rejection.  I try to use the 48-hour rule. Within 48 hours of receiving a rejected query or piece, I re-read, re-fix and re-submit to another editor. 

Feel free to share your tips for rejection resilience or recovery. 

Let's be friends

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