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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Overcoming Rejection by Dana McNeely

photo courtesy geralt,

 “It is impossible to write without throwing oneself helplessly open,” said Herman Melville. We authors must be brave to offer our writing to others. We hope our writing brings us compliments, awards, and that ultimate sign of approval for the new writer: publication. The thought of rejection, however, can cause us to cringe.

Look for the good

What does the Bible say about fear in I John4:18? Perfect love casts out fear. If we know God loves us, that He is in control, and in fact sent this rejection our way, it’s for our good, right? So be thankful for what God’s doing and keep your eyes open. Look for the good. And if you can’t see it right away, just wait for it, expecting it at any moment. Don’t fear rejection, embrace it.

Learn from the rejection

Did you receive advice? Follow it. Research the weakness that was revealed and practice ways to grow in that area.  Did you receive praise? Expand on that strength. Work to make it even stronger in your writing.

Did you get only a form letter? Pick up a writing craft book by a well-known author or other industry professional whose credentials you respect. Read as if she wrote to you personally. Apply the exercises to your work in process.

Keep writing regularly
Don’t let rejection sidetrack you. Perhaps it isn’t possible for you to write every day, but try to keep (or establish) a writing pattern, a rhythm to your days. Give up an hour of TV or sleep. Find a quiet space, or if that’s impossible, focus your mind to work in the midst of noise.

Try, try again

It’s been said that perseverance is more important than talent to getting published. William Saroyan amassed 7,000 rejections before he sold his first short story.  Alex Haley, author of “Roots”, wrote every day for eight years before small magazines began accepting his stories.  Kathryn Stockett received 60 rejections before she received a deal to publish “The Help”.  Persevere. Build up a huge file of rejections.

Throw yourself helplessly open.

by Dana McNeely, President CWOW


  1. Great post! I used to keep a folder that listed where I'd mailed a proposal, what date, and what date it was rejected. I must have had fifty rejections before I made a sale.

  2. Ah, such good advice. I love the 'perseverance is more important than talent.' Thanks, Dana! I needed the encouragement!