Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway, J.K. Rowling--all of these great writers faced rejection. Yet, we were still graced with Harry Potter and Slaughterhouse-Five. Rejection is a part of life. Here's why I'm proud of rejection:
As writers, one of the hardest challenges we face is overcoming anxiety and fear of letting others read our work. I rarely share my work with family or anyone close to me, aside from my fiancé. As a poet and creative non-fiction writer, my work is often emotionally raw and explores the dark side of humanity. It's nerve-wracking to allow someone to see your innermost pain and truth.
I even have trouble adding my work to Submittable for strangers to read. But I still do it. Why? Because rejection is what makes me grow. Maybe one person out there reads my work and resonates--that's enough for me. I want someone else to know they aren't alone in their feelings. As an only child, I was very lonely and began writing to release my emotions. If there's one thing I could tell my younger self, it would be "you aren't alone".
Here are some things I've learned from rejection:
And sure, if you're writing a novel that makes some sense. But at the end of the day, I believe you must be writing for yourself first. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, it doesn't matter. Your work should mean something to you, otherwise how could it mean anything to other people?
My personal goal is to submit a minimum of three pieces of work a week to literary magazines. Find what works best for you. You can track your goals with my goal tracker.
I'm proud of rejection because it means I put myself out there. Avoidance is only harmful. The worst they can do is say no, the best they can do it accept your work. If you get rejected, learn from it and move on to the next person. Someone out there will love your work, but you'll never know if you give up.
How do you deal with rejection? Have you learned any lessons from it?