Monday, January 12, 2015

For Writers - on Rejection

I haven’t written anything for all my writing buds out there in quite a while. But I thought some of you might appreciate this piece on rejection that I wrote for an anthology on the subject. The editor rejected it. Ha! Let me know if it resonates. There's some snark here. 

Bummer – Rejected Again

Okay, I thought of a few, more coarse, words to use in the title instead of “bummer,” but really do you need to have those in your head? You’ve probably said them enough already and with force because – well – who the deuce likes rejection? In addition, upon receiving the “u” word (unfortunately) from that editor last week, you might have resorted to kicking things like Chevy Chase did in Christmas Vacation when he got the one year subscription to the Jelly Club notice instead of a fat bonus check from his boss. We’ve all kicked and cursed. And then we settle down and feel sorry for ourselves and boo-hoo-hoo.

Snap out of it. You are in such good company it’s ridiculous. I mean, think of all the people who pick up the Bible, state that it’s “rubbish,” and give it a toss. And the author is God for crying out loud. In the good book’s defense I will say it took a long time to get it all between two covers, but you know what that’s like, too, don’t you? Your hard spent hours are right up there with the works of Moses and St. Paul, right? Sort of?

And then there are those who tell you to go and read about all the famous Jack London’s and that chick who wrote Harry Potter types who were rejected a zillion times. Trouble is you would never have heard of them if they hadn’t subsequently found a daring publisher and gone on to become more famous than Julius Caesar. About as rich, too. Sorry, but those people’s advice stinks like old coleslaw decaying behind the neighborhood deli. 

So, what do you do with that horrible, rancid, rejection you just got? First, you go to the mirror and ask yourself if you really, really want to be a writer. Go. Now. Do it. If the answer is “no,” then skedaddle down to your local job bank at ten tomorrow, fill out the forms, and have a nice life. But, if the answer is “yes,” here’s the plan. Do your cussing, and kicking and boo-hooing and then go in with a vengeance and write something with that emotion. Do it with a full head of steam and fifth of scotch if you have to, but do it.

That’s my word on rejection. The scotch thing is up to you. For using cool words like bummer, deuce, and skedaddle instead of various word bombs, I humbly accept your wide-eyed appreciation. And if you ever become as famous as London or Rowling, I’ll accept your homage on that front, too. You’re welcome.  

Image: Free Digital Photos


  1. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 12, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    Words to live by. Thanks, Sue!

  2. Sue, great article. I like to think of rejections as a learning thing in some ways. It helps us to re-write, re-write, re-write. I remember reading a quote by Carl Sandburg: "I wrote poems in my corner of the Brooks Street station. I sent them to two editors who rejected them right off. I read those letters of rejection years later and I agreed with those editors.” But I also agree some rejections really bite.

  3. Thank you, Susan! This is a timely reminder to keep a good perspective. As Ann Gabhart says, "Rejection is not fatal." Indeed it is not. :)

  4. Thank you for your comments, ladies. Excellent writers all!