The Proper Response to Rejection

Yesterday I found out that a story I worked really really hard on and was really quite pleased with was rejected from a magazine I was really really excited about.

I could say “not accepted”, but rejected is really the proper term. Rejection requires going outside of your comfort zone and taking a risk. I don’t really think it’s rejection without those two components. Which is probably why rejection sucks as much as it does — we feel like we’ve put ourselves out there. Shouldn’t there be some reward?

Now, of course, the immediate response to rejection is the sads. My immediate response involved eating a chocolate bar at 9am and then wallowing on the couch all evening watching Mad Men. And, you know, I was a pathetic creature, but it was ok — it’s ok to feel disappointed when efforts don’t pay off. It’s good to get it out of your system.

But rejection is — has always been — part and parcel to being a writer. So as I was wallowing and trying to force the cats to cuddle with me (“WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME??”), I told myself, “Today you get to be sad. Tomorrow you’re over it.”

Chuck Wendig has a saying…

This morning I got up early and went for a run. Soon I will be eating a fried egg and home fries. Today I go to work — and this evening I sit my ass back down and continue working on my book.

The only real response to rejection is to quit or to work harder. Since I’m too stubborn or stupid to quit, that only leaves one option…

7 thoughts on “The Proper Response to Rejection

  1. “This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address’. Just keep looking for the right address.”
    – Barbara Kingsolver

  2. Love the Chuck Wendig quote AND the quote from Kingsolver. I’m super proud of you for submitting. And I completely agree that you get to be sad for at least one day (sometimes easier said than done, I know). KEEP AT IT!

  3. Ha! I just found your blog tonight, and I’m very glad I did. I just finished my MFA in Fiction, so I can relate to the endless rejection. Thanks for sharing your thoughts…and the quote.

  4. Love it. In my mind,if you don’t get rejected kind of a lot, you aren’t reaching high enough. Immediate and constant acceptance is playing the game on level: easy.


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