Rejection and Writing


If you’re a writer-in-progress (or WIP, as they say in the biz), you know that writers suffer a very  particular type of rejection: the rejection of a manuscript.  But it doesn’t feel as if “only” our work has been rejected each time, but ourselves, our very souls.

For us writers, this scenario plays out often. We get rejected a lot. More than once. More than tonce (Olde English for ten times[1. Not really. I made it up.]), more than hunce (Olde Norse fighting term for a hundred times over[2. Sorry, made that up too, just now.]). A lot.

The truth about writing and rejection

Rejection hurts. Rejection sucks. When it comes to writing, rejection is a real kick in the balls (regardless of gender).

Bouncing back from the kick

So, what do you do about it? I’ve been trying to land an agent recently as the first step to getting a novel of mine published. This is actually, my first novel (my first that I truly think is good enough, not the other turds that I was arrogant to stamp as ART!). But I’ve now been rejected 25 times. (See it there? I meant my manuscript has been rejected 25 times.) And counting.

The phenomena of the rejection process is quite interesting. It is truly like the 5 stages of grief when dealing with death, I think:

  • Denial (“There must be some mistake here; an idiot intern, an illogical spam filter, computer glitch…”)
  • Anger (“Stupid farking moron agent who don’t know nothin’ ’bout ‘nothin’!!”)
  • Bargaining (“Dear lord/buddha/zeus, pa-LEASE let this email be an acceptance for once!”)
  • Depression (“I suck, I really really suck. Who was I kidding? Writer my arse! Where’s that heroin needle? Time for a coma…”)
  • Acceptance (“Wait, what? I read this wrong, surely. Does this email say, ‘sure, send me the next 50pp’ or is it the horse talking?”)

We’ve all been through it, and we’ll all go through it again and again and again, no matter how big and famous and rich we may one day become[3. Who am I kidding? NOT become...].

So we need to get Zen, relax, chill. It’s all right, really. It’s an exclusive club and you got to earn your way in. It’s all about the writing anyway, isn’t it? ISN’T IT? Because if it isn’t, you need to rethink your life a bit. The real, honest, beautiful thrill is in the writing, the creation of a new world, and really not in being published or even self-publishing. Of course seeing your book out there, garnering praise and 5-star Amazon reviews is also a beautiful thing.

It’s just not the only thing.

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  1. Amyoung0606 says

    I really enjoyed this post. It was sarcastic and informative, which is a priceless combination. I just wrote a similar post about it. There is never enough information on how to handle rejection as a writer. We are sensitive, so it’s important to help others cope with the terrible feeling of being rejected. :)

    • cplumer says

      Thanks for the comment. I don’t know why, but I can’t  help but be sarcastic on some topics. I agree completely. We writers are a sensitive lot, and we are in a business where regular rejection is just a part of life. You have to not take it personally and keep trying! Every writer with desire and talent will make it, I believe that.

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