September IWSG: Rejected


The Insecure Writers Support Group is brought to you by founder Alex J Cavanaugh. This month Alex has the help of these co-hosts:  Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler! Did you notice that I'm included? The second name? Yes, I'm helping! Sign up here at the IWSG website and join in next time. Also, go read some of those posts. 

Question of the month is (if you so choose to use it): What publishing path are you considering/did you take and why? 

I am not using the question this month. Instead, I'm writing about my favorite topic: REJECTION!

I haven’t been rejected in a long time—writing wise. That sounds like a good thing right? I haven’t been rejected in a long time because I stopped submitting my short stories, a long time ago, because of—rejection. By now you can only imagine the huge collection of stories that I have written and have tucked away in a file. 
Recently, I jumped in again and sent out a short story. Guess what? It was rejected.
So I told myself (again) that submitting my work is a waste of time. I'd rather just write. I then told myself that I am stupid to write for others, after all of these years, and I should never submit myself to rejection again. I told myself that my work isn't good enough. 
These are old feelings, old baggage.  The good thing is that I know I'm not alone in those feelings because the writer community that I belong to and the IWSG says so. As far as I know, writers everywhere are rejected from time to time. Even the now famous writers were rejected at one point.
After a rejection of my awesome writing, this is how conversations go...with myself. I mean someone has to talk to me, right? Self talk is good. Right? If I leave it up to random people to talk to me about writing or rejections, um, they opt out of talking to me. They say things like, I have to do the dishes or Christmas shop in March. It happens.
Me: (talking to myself and I) Rejection stinks.
Myself: Being thrown from a horse stinks, too.
Me: What does that have to do with my writing? I don't ride horses. Actually, I did take a few lessons years ago.
Myself: If you are thrown from a horse you must get back in the saddle again, that is, if you like to ride horses.
Me: Huh?
Myself: Okay here’s another example. If you love to play baseball and you strike out, let's say once a game, would you stop playing baseball?
Me: I don’t play baseball, but I might quit. Striking out stinks. I mean what team wants a player who can’t hit a ball with the bat?
Myself: Wow! (Leaves the room.)
I (takes her turn): Myself is saying that if you write and submit your work for others to read, you will be rejected, but maybe not forever. Rejection, dear Me, is a fact of the writing life. Even Stephen King and J.K. Rowling were rejected in their early days. There are readers out there today that criticize their writing. Rejection is a part of of life no matter what we do.
Me: Everybody says that about Rowling and King. But I wasn’t really going to give up on writing or submitting my stories. You knew that, right? Rejection is so personal and hurtful, but I know writers have to keep it going. I was just giving you all a hard time. 
I: (Shakes head and leaves the room.)
Don't be discouraged. Don't. If you are reading this, don't give up. I believe in you and what you do and so will others!

T.

Comments

  1. This reader thanks the writers who persevere from the bottom of her grateful heart. All of you.

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  2. Oh boy does rejection hurt, I think we are all there with you! Whenever possible I try and see another rejection as a sign that I am a writer and I am collecting the inevitable pile of rejections along the path to publication. I have heard of writers who put a small amount of money in a jar each time they get a rejection so that after a few they at least get to give themselves a small treat - coffee and a cake somewhere perhaps, or that you new book you have been wanting.

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  3. The conversation with yourself made me laugh. I had three stories rejected in August...but two pitches accepted yesterday. So, there are ups and downs. I just shrugged off the three rejections last month and moved on emotionally. You can't please everyone all of the time. Right? Right!

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  4. That was a lovely encouraging dialogue between Me and Myself. I appreciate how you used your rejection and turned it into a funny, encouraging story for the rest of us. Good luck with sending the short story again, and again, and again.

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  5. Keep going because when you do get an acceptance it makes up for all those rejections in one fell swoop :)

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  6. Keep going! I need a good example.

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  7. I haven't written any short stories (perhaps I should), so I'll just have to wait until I finish my novel before I run the risk of rejection. As long as you feel like writing is part of who you are, you just have to keep writing. Hopefully, you're learning something from the rejections.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG!

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  8. Rejection does stink but if you quit, that's permanent rejection.
    Thanks for co-hosting today!

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  9. Writing is so personal. It is subjective. It's our way of seeing our own little world. I believe that applies also to editors, agents, and publishers who have to make a call on a story. They look at it with their feelings and experiences. They too are subjective and if the shoe doesn't fit into their personal world, then they send out the rejection letter quickly. Don't give up. There is an editor or editors who like what you write. It just takes time to meet them.
    All the best and thank you for co-hosting this month.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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  10. Rejection does stink. But leaving stories in a drawer stinks worse. You know what you have set up for yourself, though? An opportunity to revisit some of those stories, pick the best ones, and revise them with a clear and distanced eye.

    By the way, I’ve been submitting stories and books off and on for years (sadly, more off than on). I’ve gotten one acceptance. You can live quite a while on one affirmation:)

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  11. Rejection does stink. And a long time ago, it kept me from submitting too. Nowadays, I have a thicker skin, but once in a while, I get a rejection that stings more than the others. It's just part of being a writer. (In fact, I started off this week with one of those!) I agree with you: don't give up! Thanks for co-hosting this month. :)

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  12. I like to think of rejection as a learning experience. Yes, it sucks. But you either keep on growing and trying or give it up altogether. Giving up is not an option for me. Keep on, keeping on, Teresa! And thanks for being an co-host this month!

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  13. Love it! Glad I was just giving Me a hard time :)
    Rejection is tough and I'm working on building up a thicker skin before I get ready to send my stuff out there :)

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  14. I completely agree. Giving up is lame. However, knowing when to step back and catch your breath, that's an okay thing. I wonder, have you considered self publishing a short story?

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  15. I'm with you in that rejection hurts, but so does not writing! So, I'll keep going as well, till I get all my current WIP's done and published. Then I will reconsider, but not till then. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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  16. Rejection has always been the spur under the saddle that keeps this rider hanging on. DON'T TELL ME I CAN'T!!!!
    You'll get there just keep on keeping on!

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  17. Unfortunately, rejection is part of the game, but it's only a small part. It only has as much significance as you're willing to give it. Laughing about it, like you've made us do here, is much better than sitting in the corner sucking our thumbs. Babe Ruth made a LOT of home runs, but he was also the strike-out kind. Point is, no matter what, he always came out swinging.

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  18. Hi Teresa - love your talk to yourself notation ... as Yolanda says 'don't tell me I can't' ... and yes rejection has to be part of the process ... it's life after all - good luck with your submissions - cheers Hilary

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  19. I have a file of unsubbed short stories as well, lol. Thanks for sharing your internal monologue and happy IWSG day! https://www.raimeygallant.com

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  20. rejection - one of the world's ugliest words. I can't say the word aloud, could barely even write it, and would not capitalize it. It seems that the world thrives on the notion of building oneself up by putting another down. My blog post this week strove to swim against the stream. I hope that your act of naming the devil spurred you upward. Write on!

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  21. Love that conversation! I can hear it in my head, Teresa. I've come to accept that I won't write a blockbuster but I can make enough to fund the habit. That's good enough for me.

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  22. Cute post! I like your take on this topic that we all must tackle. Happy writing in September!

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  23. Reject does indeed stink, but an almost necessary process. Never would have grown as a writer without it. That proverbial saddle is my challenge lately. Thanks for visiting me! :)

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  24. Even Jane Yolen still gets rejections.

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  25. I'm feeling hopeful, and your words are encouraging. Keep at it. Rejection is good, even when it's bad, because you're trying! Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!
    Mary at Play off the Page

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  26. Rejection can be a setback for a writer, but it can also be a launching pad for things to come. We gotta just keep going with whatever we're doing or find something that we like better. Life for most of us is filled with rejection.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  27. Rejection does stink, but it can motivate, too!

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  28. Love this self-talk! Rejection does stink, but after falling on our rears, we just pick up the pieces, and start again, right? That's what I try to do. Sometimes, I try to go from rejection to new story, although sometimes I need more breathing space. Short projects sometimes help me find my way through it, too. Best wishes with writing and submitting work again!

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  29. Your in good company. King, Rowling, even Sylvia Plath once opined, “Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.” Just keep writing. And thanks for co-hosting today.

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  30. You have to take a shot if you want to put the ball in the basket. You may have to try 30 times. I suppose there is a reason I keep a folder that holds 98 rejections of my first book. Funny thing after 98 rejections I paid attention to the nice comments and suggestions the agents were giving me and made changes. Guess what? 99, 100 and 101 were yesses! You are so right, never give up!

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  31. Rejection sucks! I still get shot down from rejections, even after writing posts on how to deal with them and look at them as badges of honor...because it shows you tried. But you can't escape the sting and disappointment. And when you have depression, as I do, it can really cause issues. I've told myself I was going to quit, but I can't. Just. Can't.

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  32. Honestly, I don't think there's anything wrong with having a little pity party after a rejection. It sucks, why bottle that feeling up? As long as you don't wallow and pick yourself back up, there's no harm in saying "being rejected blows".

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  33. And we believe in you!! Rejection does happen to all of us, and usually more than "from time to time". :-) We keep plugging along, that is if we enjoy writing enough. My diaries are for myself, but I do hope most everything else will be enjoyed by others, somehow. Thanks for co-hosting this month, T.!

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  34. Don't give up. That next submission could be a yes. Think of Edison and those 1000 tries to create the light bulb.

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  35. Margaret Mitchell was rejected 38 times before a publisher accepted her "Gone with the Wind".

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  36. That's exactly the right way to handle this rejection stuff. Give yourself a good talking to. And you were brilliant at it. Thanks for being brilliant at hosting today, too!

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  37. I remember back when, before the Internet was popular. (Now I feel old!) It used to be a thing to post rejection letters to the wall and I honestly felt like it was an accomplishment. I *submitted* something and got a letter back. Maybe something like that could be helpful in an online format. Some kind of acknowledgment. That whole process is so tough. But seriously, it's something to be proud of, to acknowledge as a good thing. In my opinion. Congrats on putting it out there and for the courage to share your story about sharing!

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  38. You nailed it. Rejection is so scary! It makes us feel so unwanted and who wants to feel that way? Thank you for co-hosting!

    Elsie

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  39. I feel you! I've been rejected so so so many times. A mentor of mine once told me that writing is about receiving and shouldering a log pile of bad news over and over until you get to the splinter good stuff, then repeating the process. Some days I feel invincible. Others I just want to crawl into a hole.

    Great post. Thank you for co-hosting!

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  40. Wow. For a minute there, I thought someone had listened to a conversation I had with myself a couple of weeks ago. I was kickin' the dirt with tears in my eyes. But, as I explained to the girls (my sympathetic canines), it ain't over till I say so - and I don't! Glad to hear you feel the same ;-)

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  41. My goal is 100 rejections per year. I think the highest I've had so far was near 80. But in those, I've managed to grow each year, get fewer rejections, and get more acceptances. While the sting will never fully go away, it does lessen quite a bit. I hope you get back out there and submit, submit, submit!

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  42. Sure have to keep going indeed, even though rejection sucks. Don't truly get rejected until you quit forever.

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  43. Rejections stink, for sure. Unfortunately, without many rejections, you can't get an acceptance once in a while. One writer compared rejections to steps of a ladder you must climb on your way to publication. Some people have a long ladder in front of them, the others's ladder is not as steep, but nobody can reach the top unless he climbs. There are no escalators or lifts in publishing.

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  44. At least you had someone intelligent to have that conversation with. Rejection does stink. I know a very famous author who has been very successful, making many bestselling lists who was recently told by her publisher that they weren't going to publish her anymore. It was shocking.

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  45. Rejection sucks, but you’re not alone. Hang in there.

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  46. Thanks for co-hosting today! One of my favorite quotes is by JK Rowling. “In truth, I never consider the audience for whom I’m writing. I just write what I want to write.” So I think of rejection as if I follow my heart and intuition and write what I want to write, I’ll end up with a lot of rejections. But if I keep writing and submitting, I’ll also receive an acceptance. Rejection is part of the writing process. And so is perseverance.

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  47. Plus, rejection isn't always about you and your work. Maybe you wrote about bunnies and the ALL MIGHTY RED PEN OWNER hit a bunny on the way to work that day and now just can't read a story with a bunny so hits NO on your precious.

    Thanks for hosting today and for sharing this.

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  48. yep, rejection stinks. But readers are awesome :) And readers don't read unless you submit - somewhere.

    Thanks for co-hosting today.

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  49. Argh! The sting of the rejection. Used to be rejection letters. Now it's rejection emails. I think emails sting worse than paper letters did. I wrote about rejection in my August IWSG post. Glad you're not quitting, and I can't wait for you to announce when your next story is accepted!

    Thanks for the post, thanks for hosting, and happy writing to you. :)

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  50. It's easier said than done, but I wouldn't let the rejection worry me. Who knows what the publication was looking for? Maybe they published something fairly similar recently and they didn't want the same topic/voice so close together.

    I had upwards of 100 rejections from agents before I went straight to publishers (despite the guidelines, ha!) Accumulated a few from publishers before finally getting published. But now, I think it would have been a lot easier if I'd simply self-pubbed from the start. It's good to have options, though.

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  51. Rejection does stink. I won't tell you what you already know (and what others have said). Find out why your work is rejected. Get others (people you trust and strangers) to read your stories and give you their honest opinions. Sometimes the rejection isn't the fault of the story. It could be because they just bought a similar story or the topic isn't something they publish. Whatever. I'm glad to hear you're not giving up. Keep writing. When you do make it big, think of all the inventory you'll have. Thanks for co-hosting.

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  52. I gave up the trad publishing route because when I got a reason for rejection, it was exactly why I thought it wouldn't do well in the commercial world anyway... so I self-pubbed and I don't feel the need to go back down the reasons for that any more (so I've done my post on Seasonal Writer's Block!)
    I had a short story accepted in the spring! I've been shortlisted several times recently... these are all positive steps forward, so keep working on the short stories, but make sure they fit the brief for where you're submitting them. Much like job applications, you need to ask yourself 'are they looking for ME?' That should up your acceptance rate.
    Good luck!

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  53. Rejection is definitely no fun. But yay for not giving up writing and doing what you love!

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  54. I love the conversation! Yeah, rejection hurts, but I think it's better to get that in the beginning, before the work is published, than to get the tsunami of bad reviews that come from work that no one looks at before it get put out there.

    Congrats on picking up the pen again. :)

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  55. Hi there fellow co-host.
    Thanks for sharing your story (I also appreciate your sense of humor). Yes, rejection hurts, but you can't let that get you down (I say that as I'm not currently in a bad emotional state). I'm glad you're set on continuing to write. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  56. Thanks for sharing that. It's always good to remember that we're not alone in feeling like our work isn't good enough. And I think continuing to write, whether you submit or not, is the most important part. Thanks for co-hosting!

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  57. Keep going. It's a numbers game with a bit of luck - it's about catching the right person on the right day with the right story. I wish more rejections were personalised because it might just be that your story got quite far "up the ladder" before being vetoed at the last minute - but you have no way of knowing that. I know you're a talented writer, so there's no quibble on that score!

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  58. Thanks for co-hosting this month Teresa! I enjoyed reading your post. Rejection is hard to stomach, but you just have to keep moving forward. That or give up ~ NOT! I’m late making the rounds because of traveling and technical ineptitude ~ I’m trying to do this on my iPhone and have not been faring well. Happy writing in September! You’re a great writer!

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  59. Thank you for co-hosting. Reading the comments, when I see the numbers of rejections people have received, I feel like a failure for not trying as hard! Rejections mean you're working. Keep it up!!

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  60. God, is rejection difficult to handle. I could redo the walls of my entire home in rejection letters and rejected manuscripts, T. "Myself" is right. The only way for us to ever receive an acceptance letter is to brush off our words and stories and nail them to the horse and send it off again. All the luck my dear! Thank you for co-hosting IWSG's September question.

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  61. Happy belated IWSG Day. Thanks for co-hosting.

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