01 January 2013

Dealing with rejection

Happy New Year!

Loyal Electric Spec readers and writers know January 15, 2013 will be our deadline for submissions for the next issue (February 28, 2013), so get those stories in!

I've been trying to come up with a more upbeat post than 'dealing with rejection', but what can I say? It's been on my mind. Here are some thoughts about rejection:

  • As writers, dealing with rejection is part of our job. Let me say that again: if you aren't submitting your work and getting responses you aren't doing your job. Getting rejected is literally your job. Obviously, the ideal is to write and publish and then repeat--but I don't know any writer whose career goes like that!
  • Learn from rejection. Often rejection is accompanied by constructive criticism. If so, seriously consider it. Notice I'm not saying change your work every time you get a rejection. Sometimes work just isn't right for a particular market.
  • Grouse with your writer friends about rejection; this is a bonding activity. :) If you don't have any writer friends: get some! Making friends with other writers is one of the great joys of being a writer. Many public libraries sponsor writers groups and there are tons of them on the web. See for example, www.writers.com/groups.html.
  • Remind yourself why you write. Everyone has different reasons to write. You need to have reasons beyond getting published. Do you have a story inside that you just can't ignore? Do you enjoy the creative outlet? Do you lose yourself in imaginary worlds? Have you made friends with your fictional characters? Why do you write?
  • Consider the road not taken. Now, more than ever, there are a lot of outlets for creative work. Maybe your muse would be better served via a truly interactive story? Or a prose/music/interpretive dance project? Maybe you should pod-cast your story? Self-publish? What about trying crowd-sourcing? The only limit is your imagination.
  • Keep trying! The most important thing to realize about rejection is it doesn't mean your project is over. Who knows, the next submission may lead to success! I hope so.
  • What do you think is the best way to deal with rejection?


Rebecca Taylor said...

So true. Rejection blows, but it's not personal. Learning to take it in stride is critical...otherwise you might get discouraged and give up. Going to Tweet this!

Happy New Year.

Simon Kewin said...

My approach is pretty much: Grumble. Sigh. Try again.

Devin said...

Ha nice, Simon. The "try again" part is the key there.

It helps me to be super confident and enthusiastic about a submission when I send it, and when it gets rejected I think, "Eh, it wasn't that great anyway." I'll polish it if I need to, then send it out super confident again.

Anonymous said...

I've never thought about a reason for writing when I do it. Interesting. It's only when I don't write that I wonder about not doing it.

lesleylsmith said...

Good discussion, gang.

Jeff Samson said...

I deal with rejection by reminding myself that editors are people. They have their tastes and aversions, fits of passion and proclivities, strengths and faults, good days and bad. They might bring to my story set at the end of the world an irresistible love of all things apocalyptic. They might read my ode to romance with the same pair of eyes that two days earlier caught their spouse schtouping the babysitter. The only thing that makes them gatekeepers is their proximity to the gate.

Brian Hurrel said...

I almost never agree with anything Jeff Samson says, nor do I care for his overwrought prose or hackneyed cliches, or the way he leaves the toilet seat up all the time and eats crackers in bed, but in this case he's dead on.

Over the course of a year I had a story rejected multiple times with:
1. No comment
2. A substantial rewrite request
3. A handful of lukewarm comments

And then, without change, it was acccepted by an editor who "Loved it!".

Like Jeff said, editors are human, and all a rejection means is that ONE editor didn't like it.
On the flip side, an acceptance could mean that only ONE editor liked it.