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Image from public Domain: Piotr Siedlecki

Before we look at rejection, lets assume that you are capable of telling a story and using basic grammar.  Let’s also assume you aren’t a horrible writer.

Rejection, is a terrible word that all writers must endure.  I am a collector of rejection letters.  There’s a folder in my email just for such nasties. Rejection isn’t all bad.  Some editors give helpful advice about your writing, and there can be many reasons for rejection.  Let’s take a look:

  • Novice. Let’s take the worst one first.  Beginning writers send their work out before it’s ready.  We’ve all done it.  You think it’s ready but it isn’t.  The writing is so green, the paper has a recycling symbol on the back.  You lack experience.  That’s probably the worst rejection.  OK, the worst is the writing sucks, but for this post we will ignore that.  The style, characters, and technique need to be improved.  I believe that this happens over time with practice.
  • Timing.  Your piece is rejected because it doesn’t fit with the current taste of the publishers.  Last year it would have been a shoe in, but now the idea of reading another story about teenage zombie’s in love is outdated.  Chances are the publisher won’t tell you that you sent your submission in a year too late.  They just say it doesn’t fit at the moment. This one is my favorite.
  • Format. When submitting your work of genius, you ignored the formatting preferences and just sent the doc. as is. This is true for magazines, ezines, and agents/publishers.  Everyone has a certain format they like.  If you don’t follow the rules it’s straight to the slush pile of death.
  • Taste.  This is my second favorite.  Your piece isn’t right for the magazine, agent, or e-zine. Let’s face we don’t read every issue of every publication.  There are times we send things out blindly hoping it will find a home.  This type of frivolous submissions may be the main reason writing is rejected.  Or so it seems to me, at the moment as I look at a new stack of rejections.  Apparently, the short tale of young robots in love was not the right story for Moms Magazine.  Don’t worry, I made that last one up.

I imagine if you have been writing a while, none of this is new.  Rejection at any stage of your career is difficult.  But if you plan on making writing your life, you must find a way to deal with it.  I’m thinking of purchasing a dart board and attaching rejection letters to it and see how many times I can nail it.

How do you handle rejection?or What was your favorite rejection notice?


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