The first experience of most writers is rejection. It sucks, but there it is. So how do you deal with it? Let’s look at some ways.
YOU CAN SAY IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT
Editors reject stories and novels for all kinds of reasons, and not just because the writing is bad. They reject a piece because it’s too similar to a piece they bought just last week, because it doesn’t turn them on, because they’re full up, or because they’re in a bad mood over a divorce, stubbed toe, or bad traffic that morning. The story might bug the editor because the main character keeps eating chocolate and the editor is on day three of her new diet. You just never know. Send it to someone else.
YOU CAN SAY, “WHAT DOES SHE KNOW?”
How often has this happened: A friend raves about a book or short story. It’s fantastic! The best piece of fiction ever! The friend loans it to you. You read it and go “Meh.” So maybe your piece is brilliant, but the editor went “Meh.” What does she know? Send it to someone else.
YOU CAN REWRITE, REUSE, RECYCLE
After a certain point, there may be no more markets for a piece. Oh well. You put it away and when a new market opens up, you take the piece out, dust it off, run it through the rewrite machine, and send it out again. Or maybe you can use the characters or settings in another piece. Which you’ll send out.
YOU CAN KEEP PESTERING THE EDITOR WITH MORE FICTION
Marion Zimmer Bradley maintained that editors will eventually tire of rejecting you and buy something. Of course, that won’t happen if you don’t send them something.
WRITE SOMETHING ELSE
Have you been writing about the same set of characters all this time and been gathering rejections for them? Maybe it’s time to give them a break. Write about new characters in a new setting. Been writing adventure-based fiction? Try a character piece. Always doing sword and sorcery? Try some urban fantasy. Main character is always a woman in her twenties? Try writing about a teenaged male. Do something different and you might surprise yourself. Then send it out.
Get Away From It All. When the writing and rejection weighs you down, get away from it for a while. Yes, I’m telling you to stop writing for a bit. Set a time period–a week, say, perhaps two at most. Give yourself permission to slack off and not write. Do something physical. Catch up on your housework. Clean the gutters. At the end of the time period, return to your keyboard, mind and body refreshed.
Then send something out.
How do you deal with rejection?
–Steven Harper Piziks
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