Tag Archives: Rejection

When rejection turns to acceptance…

At RWA16 I was delighted to sit in on a seminar by the wonderful Christie Craig. She spoke of her years of hard work in trying to get published  and her disappointment with each rejection letter she received. Like her, I can relate. Over the years I’ve probably had enough rejections from editors and literary agents to fill a suitcase. Well, Christie Craig did. Fill a suitcase. And she brought it along with her to the seminar to illustrate just how many pieces of paper with her work rejected she’d received over the years.


I have to tell you it was eye opening.

I’ve always joked I’ve been rejected more times than there are books in the library. But I threw those rejection letters away and never thought about them again. This is my little psychological quirky way of dealing with unpleasant issues: out of sight, out of mind. Hey, it works for me.

Christie did not toss away her rejections. She saved them, accumulated them, stored them away so that one day she could take them out and say “Look. Look at what I had to suffer through to be a published author. Look at the fires I walked through to come out on the other side of my dream.”

Heady stuff.


She–and I–are not the only  ones who’ve lived through mountains of rejections and so-called failures.

  • R.H. Macy, yes that MACY, started 7 failed businesses before finally hitting it big with his NYC-based store
  • Thomas Edison had 1000 unsuccessful light bulb inventions and attempts before one finally worked.
  • After Fred Astaire’s screen test, the studio director stated that Astaire, “can’t dance, can’t sing, is balding and can dance a little.”
  • Theodor Giesel, who the world lovingly knows as Dr Suess, had 27 publishers reject his first book.
  • Stephen King received 30 rejections of Carrie, one of the most iconic horror books and movies of all time.
  • Jack London’s first story received 600 rejection slips before being accepted.
  • Elvis Presley was told by the manager of the Grand Ol’ Opry, “you ain’t going nowhere, son. Go back to driving a truck.” He then fired him after only 1 performance.
  • Ever heard of Harland David Sanders? His secret recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it, coated their chicken with it and Kentucky Fried Chicken was born.

I could go on…and on. But won’t because you get the idea.

Hard work, perseverance,  a backbone of steel, and total belief in yourself and what you have to offer is what differentiates a successful person from one who isn’t.

Think about it.

What are you going to do the next time you get rejected?


When I’m not being rejected(!), you can find me here:

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Rejection….not for the soft-hearted

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Words of wisdom

A few blogs ago I shared a devastating rejection that made me question everything I’ve been doing to enhance my writing career, and that I’ve written, for the past year. I was so emotionally low that I didn’t even want to touch my laptop. It sat, closed and loosing charge, lonely and still, in my writing loft.  I couldn’t even tell the people I loved the most about the rejection because I was so depressed and embarrassed.

When I finally did share the news with my husband and then my daughter, just saying the words out loud made me feel like an even bigger loser. All I felt like doing was wallowing. I admitted to my daughter that I thought the entire year had been wasted, that I was back to square one with no foreseeable chance of moving forward again.  At 54 I felt like I was basically done and didn’t know if I had the energy or the desire to start over. Again.

Here’s the difference between a 54 year old and a 24 year old: perspective.

My daughter, in that clear and educated voice she uses on me when she likes to throw the stupid things I say back in my face, said, “So, the website you constructed, all the connections both personally and via the internet that you’ve made,  the conferences you’ve gone to, the Twitter followers, your new Facebook friends, and the writing group you joined, have all been for nothing? None of that has been worthwhile or made a difference to you this year?”

“Well, no,” I admitted, sheepishly.  “All those things have been wonderful.”

“So, tell me, again, exactly, how you’re back to square one?”

See? Perspective.

I’m so glad I had a daughter who loves me enough to tell me when I’m being an idiot. Who has the confidence to throw my own dumb words back in my face just to make me see them for what they really are. And for respecting me so much that she’s willing to show me the error of my ways.

I’d like to think when I was 24 I had the same kind of perspective, but I know I didn’t. At least at 54 I’m beginning to learn it. Let’s all hope by the time I’m published – and I will be! – it’ll be ingrained my my psyche.

Thanks, kid, for showing me the way.


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Rejection, Part 2

“After rejection – misery, then thoughts of revenge, and finally,oh well, another try elsewhere.Mason Cooley.

The misery part of the above quote I totally agree with. After my most recent rejection I did the following, not necessarily in this order: cried, ate a package of Milano cookies, cried, cursed the person rejecting me, cried some more but now howled, too, ate two chocolate donuts then two more, cried, cursed the air and then fumed.  After fuming I moved into seething, then cried again, not because I was upset about the rejection, but because I had now moved into embarrassment over it. I was ashamed that I had told people about my potential good news – based on what I was told by the person reviewing my work – and now I had to tell these same people that I had – gulp! – been rejected.

Red faced, trembling lip, crimson eared, embarrassed.

I wasn’t able to tell anyone for a week. Seven days I held all that emotion in, stuffing it with bad food and mentally castigating myself. Life I said in my  previous post, I had to talk myself off a proverbial ledge.

And then, the final part of the above quote filtered through all the hurt and the rage and the humiliation of failing. I woke up one day and decided that this wasn’t going to dissuade me from writing, that it wasn’t the end of the world or of my writing career, and that today was a new day.

A little Scarlett Ohara-ish, but true.

If we were to quit every time we failed at something, new inventions would never be discovered.

If we were to give up on love every time our heart was broken, we would never know the joy of rebirth that new love brings.

If I quit every time something I’d written was rejected for publication – no matter how much it hurt or how wrong the rejector was about it – I wouldn’t be at my laptop right this second typing this.

So, tomorrow is another day ( Thanks, Scarlett for making me realize that!) and there are more places to submit to and different people to read what I’ve written.

Rejection hurts. This is true. But it’s not the end of the world.

I have to go exercise those damn donuts and Milanos off now.


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“Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues that in some way will be translated back into your work.James Lee Burke

To write about this topic is stomach-upsetting for me. I am the penultimate expert on the subject of rejection: in my personal life, in my work, in my career, and in my writing. I joke that failure is a familiar friend to me, but that rejection is my sworn enemy. I can deal with failure because I know that out of it will some day come  success. Rejection, on the other hand, is a form of failure that is so much more personal and ego-devouring, that when it hits me, it throws me into the bowels of depression, and I have a very hard time clawing my way out of its clutches.

I could quote chapter, book and verse on the number of ubersuccessful people who suffered rejection before ever  seeing their proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. 27 publishers rejected Theodore Giesel’s first book. Stephen King was rejected 30 times before his first book sold. Supposedly, Jack London received over 600 rejection slips before he ever sold a story. The list goes on, but one thing they all had in common was that rejection did not mean the end of their desire to write. It probably spurred it on just to prove the rejectors  wrong.

Obviously, I’m writing this today because I, too, have suffered another writing rejection. And it hurts. Like hell. This time I was so confident that something good was going to come out of my submission – based on what I was told by the person I was submitting to –  that when the final rejection came, with no explanation of why, I was devastated. Beyond devestated, actually. I had to talk myself off a ledge. A  proverbial one, but a ledge just the same. To be rejected, to have my work rejected, my thoughts, my ideas, the way I write the words, is soul-killing. I could barely put a sentence together for a while because every time I opened my mouth, all I wanted to do was wail, “Why??!!”

A little overly melodramatic, but true.

I’ve had a few days now to get over the hurt, shock, annoyance, dismay and anger.  I no longer want to make a phone call and say vicious things to the person at the other end about their heritage and schooling. I’ve pulled myself back in from the ledge to my writing room. I am still having a little difficulty with the “Why” but for now, I will ignore that question and ask myself this one: “Where do I go from here?” The easiest answer is back to my laptop, so that is where I am today.

And where I will be every other day I have the time opportunity to be. I will not let this latest rejection steal my joy about writing. And it is a joy. No one should ever be allowed to rob you of that.

To quote one of the smartest women I know – my friend Jill – who is quoting her father when she says, “every thing happens for a reason.” This is so true. I don’t know the reason now, but I am confident I will someday. As the James Lee Burke quote of above tells us, this rejection is dues I am paying that will some day, some way, be translated back into my work.

Want to talk about your rejections??





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