Friday, August 13, 2010


As a follow-up to last week’s scintillating, albeit tantalizing, expose on change, my mind is now focused on the result of that shot at the stars…rejection.

I’m relatively new to the world of writing. Well, maybe I should say the “business” of writing, because I’ve written most of my life, with the exception of a large gap during college where creative writing was replaced with the regurgitative stylings of academic writing. Totally different mindset that took me years to recover from, and only managed to do so when I gave myself over to another love that I had abandoned during my collegiate years: reading. But anyways, I digress…

Writing as I do now, participating in an online writing group courtesy of Kelley Armstrong called the OWG, and more recently, a face-to-face writers group locally, it’s taught me the necessity of thick skin. You have to be able to not only take the criticism that your fellow group members throw at you, but you have to take the rejections from publishers and agents. You have to expect it, and be able to take it gracefully and use it as a learning block to improve for next time.

Same thing applies to _____(fill in the blank).

Any time you present yourself, separate from the crowd, you are opening yourself up to criticism and rejection. I spent the last two weeks interviewing for a position in my company that I was really excited for. I didn’t get it. From what I understand, the powers-that-be wanted to use this opportunity to change a little of the job function. I understand that, completely agree with it. It also meant that I was not the most qualified candidate for the position. Disappointed? Yeah, but that’s okay. I dealt with it the same way I deal with rejection elsewhere—I went to the bookstore, bought a large caffe mocha and wrote.

While sitting in the coffee shop with my friends, I opened my email and saw a response from a publisher on a submission I had sent earlier in the week. I completely expected another rejection because I had committed a faux pas and exceeded the word limit on their submission guideline. I opened the email anyway, because what better place to deal with another rejection than where I’d go anyway? To my surprise, the email read “Congrats, we want the story.”

From this I learned two things:

(1) Some rules are made to be broken.

(2) When God closes a door, he opens a window.

I jumped through the window.

That makes two short story sales in less than six months. Considering I just started writing seriously last summer, I’m pretty thrilled with that. Maybe it’s my sign to focus more on my writing. Maybe the world was compensating me for my disappointment over the job.

Or maybe I just stumbled through that open window and haven’t hit the ground yet.

Either way, rejection happens. Go grab a caffe mocha, learn to deal with it and learn from it.

How do you deal with rejection?


Falcata Times said...

Unfortunately I've not been brave enough to submit. Partly its the worry about rejection, partly it's wanting a better body of work behind me. There's also the fun of making sure that I have a basic kick ass Submission letter.

I've known people who've been published that have gotten into slanging matches with people who didn't like thier work. I've chatted to them about how they feel and, I hope, managed to persuade them about the whole "Never get into an argument with an idiot, they beat you down to their level and beat you with experience." situation.

Its hard to find people hating your work but there are lots of successful writers out there that people have come to love who own whole piles of rejections.

Perseverence, continual writing and experience will out in the end so keep on trucking and remembering the whole philosophy of for everyone who hates your writing there will be someone who loves it attitude will get you there in the end.

patriciahollett said...

Great blog this week Kelly. I'm still recovering from 2 rejections in the past month, and yet you're right. It's no different than being turned down for a job. You don't give up then, you keep trying. Your writing must be quite good, having two stories accepted recently, and maybe a little more focus on that aspect of your life may turn into something absolutely great. I'm rooting for you! At least then you wouldn't have to worry about a regular day job!

michellemuto said...

Congrats, Kelly! That's some great news.

How do I deal? Winston Churchill once said, "If you're going through hell, keep going."

Angela Addams said...

Congratulations! I love it when you're expecting one thing but the other happens...that is, when it's in your favor!

I found with submitting to agents the same rule applies...when you least expect it, you get your way!

Seleste said...

First, congrats :)

Second, I deal by getting back on it. I write more. I send out more.

And I eat ice cream :P

daniellelapaglia said...

Congrats Kelly! Awesome news!

Like Sel, I'm a big fan of ice cream. Two of my flash stories were rejected this week and when I told Carlos he said, "That's okay, baby. I'll buy you an ice cream." He's a wonderful man, but if he keeps buying me ice cream for rejections I'll be too fat to leave the house. Of course, maybe that will help me concentrate on my writing more. :)