Thursday 12 May 2011

Why We Should Treasure Rejections

The pain of getting a rejection never goes away, even if we have a good publication record. Rejections come, of course, for all sorts of reasons, not always for poor writing and we’re often rejected even if our writing is good or even brilliant.
“This doesn’t fit our lists, we’re not taking on any new writers at the moment, and we have just published something similar to this.” Even a more encouraging “This isn’t quite what we’re looking for but it you do not manage to place this with an agent, do send us your next one,” is still a rejection.
But think of this. If you are seriously being a writer and writing every day, as well as reading some good quality writing, you will be improving all the time. A little look at your work even after the blandest, most impersonal of rejections, can often leave you thinking “Thank goodness they did reject it.” This may be alarming, as when you sent the work out, you thought it was the best you could ever do. Thank goodness we move on, or we’d never be able to work with editors once our work was accepted.
If we get a more positive rejection, we may have something concrete to work on. Remember, though, although editors are often right about what is wrong with a piece, they are rarely right about how to fix it. That skill belongs to the writer. We have to find a third way.
This is partly what makes me nervous about self-publishing. I have self-published, and I am about to self-publish again. I am, however, going to employ the services of an editor.
We should treasure every rejection. Statistically every rejection brings us one step nearer to being published. It probably stops us from making fools of ourselves as well.       

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