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Seven Great Things About Rejection
by Lynette Rees

You hear the letterbox flap going early in the morning, there on the doormat is the envelope you have been waiting for. An article or short story you submitted two months ago has now been read by an editor. You pray for an acceptance. On opening the envelope, the words: 'was not suitable for this magazine' jump out at you. Your piece was rejected. You feel a lump in your throat, and think what's the point? But hang on a moment, aren't you jumping to conclusions? Who says that rejection is a bad thing? Now don't get angry with me, I've been there, done that and bought the T-shirt. Read on if you want to find out why rejection can be a good thing....

1. It enables you to improve on your work. When I look back at some of the short stories I submitted to magazines three years ago, I can see why they were rejected. I made silly grammatical errors, my sentences were way too long, plus my stories were a trifle cliched. Since then I've taken several creative writing classes, locally and on-line.

Tip - Join a creative writing class or critique group.

2. Rejection doesn't necessarily mean your article/story is no good. It may be simply that the editor has just published a similar piece to yours, so it could be just a matter of timing. Try submitting to other markets and if you get rejected more than a few times then try revising your piece. Another reason for rejection could be that you haven't studied the magazine/website's guidelines or style. This is an absolute MUST. If the editor asks for articles of between 600-800 words then DO NOT submit a piece which is 1200 words in length, no matter how good it is. Check that the article is the right style for the magazine. If it's a dog magazine then write about dogs!

Tip - Always study the guidelines before submitting anything.

3. Rejection makes your writing stronger. If my earlier pieces of work had been accepted I would have thought they were quite good, as it is now, I revise and edit my work more than ever. Pruning out unnecessary words, to make a stronger piece, without losing my 'voice'.

Tip - Read your work out loud, any words that jar or stop the flow of the piece, change, until the piece runs smoothly.

4. Rejection is all part and parcel of being a writer. To have received a rejection letter/e-mail is proof that you have worked to submit a piece of writing. How many writers are so afraid of rejection that they don't submit anything for fear of failure?

Tip - It is better to have been rejected 100 times than not to have submitted even once. Keep trying, your persistence will pay off.

5. Rejection of an article/story is not a rejection of you personally. Unfortunately, anytime we have a rejection in our lives, it can remind us of other times when we were rejected in the past. It can knock our self-esteem and our confidence waivers, making us feel like giving up.

Tip - If you find yourself feeling like that, then keep a journal of your thoughts, so you can have some insight into what is causing you to feel that way.

6. Rejection helps us perform our 'groundwork' as a writer. How many times have you heard someone say "I've always wanted to be a writer, can you give me some advice?" They seem to expect you to tell them all that they need to know in about five minutes flat. It may have taken you months or even years of 'sweat of the brow' to where you are now as a writer. Yet they try to persuade you to tell them your secret. There is no secret. Writing is hard work. It may have taken you many rejections before you have one article or story published.

Tip - Tell yourself that every rejection you receive is a step closer to your goal of getting published. You are doing your groundwork.

7. Being rejected can help you pick up tips from editors and/or find new markets for your work. Not all editors send out standard rejection letters. If you are lucky, you may be told what was wrong with your article/story and how you can improve on it. Some editors will even suggest other possible markets for your work.

Tip - If you find yourself receiving standard rejection letters and don't know why your work is being rejected, write back to the appropriate editors and ask. If they have time to reply they may be able to explain that you hadn't followed the guidelines or your story was full of grammatical errors etc.

So as you can see rejection isn't necessarily bad, it can be a good thing. It's about learning from your mistakes and going on to be an even better writer. Now send off that article or story and don't fear rejection, you may even learn something from it.

© Copyright 2002, Lynette Rees

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