Rejection… A Writer’s Tale

Rejection is a hideous thing to deal with. For writers we have to deal with it regularly, unless we’re lucky. Stephen King used to collect rejection letters by the hundred, he used to stick them to the wall on a spike.

I find it difficult to take pleasure in my rejection. It doesn’t inspire me to do better. It feels like it’s another nail in the coffin. And what’s being buried, apart from my self-esteem, is my dream of becoming a writer.

On a forum a group of writers discussed how they dealt with rejection letters. In the old days, when paper was required and emails were yet to be invented, people set light to them, or kept scrap books, or stuck them on a spike on the wall. Modern technology has denied us these pleasures.

Email rejection letters I file. There’s something a lot less satisfying about filing an email than burning an actual rejection letter.

But what gets me is the lack of imagination, the lack of understanding that many editors have. “Thanks but we can’t use this.” “Not for us, thanks anyway.” “We’ll pass.” Yes, because passing is not really rejecting, is it! The euphemisms for rejection are just as bad. It’s like the editors get out their thesauruses, they’ve probably got that page marked, reject, decline, deny, discard, repel, scrap, renounce… pass!

It’s hard enough that I’ve created my masterpiece and put my heart and soul into it, then rewritten it, and possibly rewritten it again and then formatted it all nice and neat, and sent my work off into the dark wilderness of the slush-pile.

And then I wait and wait.

I know editors have a hard time, some of them read hundreds of submissions a week. Most of which are probably rubbish. But please! Give us a chance. A standard rejection letter is absolutely no help. I know, I know. Hundreds of submissions. But if there is anything I can do to improve my story, oh wise editor, let me know. Knowledge is power, sure enough, but how about sharing some of that knowledge? A hint here, a tip there. It can go a long way. Help me please!

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2 Responses to “Rejection… A Writer’s Tale”

  1. As an Editor, I try to ALWAYS give feedback when I reject a story. But, as a writer, I feel your pain. Even some of the rejections I have gotten that weren’t form rejections were vague and not very helpful. My best advice is to join a critique group or a post on a writer’s forum. It’s a far more useful way to get feedback. I’m a member of Cafe Doom and it’s been a huge help.

  2. I understand completely as to where you are coming from. I got my first (well only rejection thus far for my novel) on my birthday of all days! Claiming “it’s not what we are looking for at this time”

    So when would it be a better time for them huh?

    and like you, I didn’t get any suggestions as to how the story could be improved, suggestions for improvement or anything of the sort. I do need that little bit of detail to make my work better. I also suffer from a learning disability and can’t always catch the errors of my creative creatures. I do want people to point out mistake and give opinion as to what can be done to improve it.

    I feel you (fist props) Really I do.

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