Whether you are submitting your first manuscript or your thirteenth, on some days rejection is no big deal. You will have other opportunities. Perhaps the next person to read your manuscript will want to publish it or represent you. No matter. You get on with your day.
But other days? On those days rejection makes you question why you keep putting yourself through this. Here are five things to help you lessen the sting.
Set a Limit
I’m not going to get into the psychology of rejection and why some rejections are worse than others. But if this one rocks you back, take some time to feel the agony. No really. Stomp around the house. Gripe at the cat. Whatever it takes, but go into it knowing just how long you are going to give yourself. One writing friend set a two day limit on being a grump. After that, it was time to get back to work. Me? I’m willing to give myself one grumpy evening to play video games, put Bailey’s in my coffee, and fuss. But a new day means it is time to get on with being a writer or go find another job. Since I don’t want to do that, I get back to writing.
Call the Girls
All writers need a support network. When a rejection hits me especially hard, I contact either a librarian friend or one of the ladies in my critique group. They’ve all submitted their work and faced rejection letters. Even when my husband doesn’t understand why I’m upset, my fellow writers get it.
When I research potential markets for a piece, I make a list. That way when I get a rejection I know where it is going to go next. It isn’t like this no came from the one and only place I had planned to send the manuscript.
In addition to multiple markets for each manuscript, it also pays to have several pieces I’m shopping around. That way when I get a rejection on one, or heaven forbid three, I still have another piece out with an agent or editor who may even say yes.
Way back when I was a kid, my mom would get me a coloring book whenever I got sick. It was just a little something to help cheer me up. I did something like that for myself when I was a new writer. When a rejection came, I reached into the prize jar and pulled out a slip of paper and got whatever was written there. A trip to the local bookstore. An evening spent knitting. A morning with a coloring book. Visiting the Art Museum.
What helps pick you up when a rejection gets you down? What systems do you have in place to help you cope? Please comment and help out your fellow writers.
Sue Bradford Edwards’ is the author of over 27 books for young readers. To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer’s Journey.
Sue is also the instructor for Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins March 1, 2021) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins March 1, 2021).
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