Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rejection is What You Make It

Firstly: Happy First Blogisheriversy to the Rejectionist who has invited us all to blog about "What Form Rejection Means to Me" .    

My first form rejection made me cry. I think. I really don’t remember it that well, though at the time I probably felt I'd never forget the sting. In the twelve years since then, I’ve had many rejections. Somewhere along the way, ‘positive rejections’ began to outnumber form rejections, and after a time I gathered a few non-rejections—um, I mean ‘acceptances.’ Form letter induced tears have given way to forced laughter, then grim-but-determined smiles, wry sighs, and now indifferent shrugs.

All of this is par for the course. And it’s a challenging course. It’s not for the faint of heart. It will:

·    bamboozle the uninitiated
·    overwhelm the lazy
·    shrivel up the gutless
·    stymie the passive aggressive faster than they can wail, “It’s not my fault, it’s theirs!”
·    quickly teach you whether or not you’re a quitter.

Achieving publication requires:
  • guts
  • stamina
  • passion
  • hard work
  • vision
  • professionalism
  • a hearty dose of mindless, blind faith that success is just around the corner… or the next… or the next...
  •  the belief that the journey, the lovely people met along the way, and the countless hours spent learning, creating, crafting, revising, and editing are worth the struggle
  • niceness.
Glorious and bountiful form rejections:

·   force you to be a better writer
·   teach you to accept rejection (any kind of rejection in *Life!*) with dignity, learn from it, shrug off any residual pain, and bloody just get on with it
·   tell you you’re probably gutsy, strong, passionate, hard-working, accepting, professional, and if you’re not already, at least on the way to being nice. And cool. And dignified. And visionary! And possibly slightly delusional, but that’s ok... You’re a writer.


  1. Marlo, thanks for the thoughts. I wrote about rejection in my blog today too. It's funny, it certainly makes you dig in your heals and work harder. After so much work, I couldn't imagine stopping. Thanks.

  2. Getting rejections hurt at first, but then my skin toughened. I began to look at each rejection as a new sign of hope as I prepared to submit the manuscript to another publisher. Thanks for your perspective! Thanks for sharing writing knowledge.

  3. As a new author, rejections mean I am moving the ball forward. I am submitting my work and it is being reviewed by real publishers! It excites me to get a rejection because every time I revisit the work and make modifications that a real publisher suggested, it gets closer to being published.

  4. "and bloody just get on with it" amen to that! :)

  5. Well put. I have a growing stack of rejections but I'll take them in exchange for being visionary with a side of delusional.

  6. I think I can bloody well just get on with it! (THAT is the kind of advice I love.)

  7. Thanks for this thoughtful and inspiring post. You're absolutely right. Perseverance is a must in order to survive. I have a stack of rejections I keep in a folder - I'm thinking of making a lamp shade out of them some day!