#LoveOzYA Writes: How do I deal with writing rejection?
By Jasmin McGaughey
In the writing world, we can all experience rejection, in one way or another.
Google “rejection as a writer” and you’ll find a heap of articles that highlight the normalcy of rejection — of publications turning pieces of work away, unable to hold the stories, the essays, the poems that writers have undoubtedly worked hard to create. Rejections come in many forms. Sometimes writers receive emails, Submittable notifications, or no answer at all.
But this isn’t just publishers and editors being mean, and it definitely doesn’t mean the writer’s work should never see the light of day! It is simply one step on the way to publication.
But how can you best navigate that step, and persevere with your writing practice?
Here are just a few ideas:
Rejection Tip 1: Have multiple works submitted at multiple places at once (if possible)
This means writing work before you hear back from last place you submitted to. Not all publications allow simultaneous submissions, so I don’t mean submitting the same piece to different competitions or publishers. What I mean, is have different pieces on the go at once. If you’ve got a short story waiting for a response at one literary magazine, why not send that poem you’ve been working on to an open competition? For me, this means I’m always hopeful!
Rejection Tip 2: Re-edit the work after a break and workshop it with readers, such as family and writing friends
Giving up on a piece that holds a special place inside you is a shame. So, after I’ve received a rejection, I take a break and if I still feel an intense connection, I make my own edits. Feedback is invaluable, especially from other writers or editors. Some publications, like Voiceworks, offer feedback.
Rejection Tip 3: Read more stories, essays, or poetry — fill up your creative well!
Often, one of the biggest tips for writers is reading. If your piece isn’t quite working and you’re stuck, reading can be a great way to get inspired again, and help you find those vibes you’d like to infuse your piece with.
Rejection Tip 4: Get started on the next story
Is your current piece making you pull your hair out from rejections and frustration? Sometimes when your work is rejected, it’s a sign to take a break from it and start on another piece. What other pieces of work are exciting you?
Rejection Tip 5: Don’t always assume your work isn’t good yet
It’s important to remember that different publishers and publications have different editorial visions. Sometimes your work may simply not be the right fit for that particular outlet.
Allen & Unwin’s blog on publisher advice gives some great tips for submitting fiction and non-fiction manuscripts. Their publishers are asking questions about whether there is a gap for your book of essays to fill; or if you are the best person to write that particular story.
But please remember publication doesn’t have to be your goal and finishing any project is valid, and worth celebrating! So don’t forget to congratulate yourself (and possibly treat yourself) for getting that far.
Do you have any tips for rejection?