I won’t lie. Rejection as a writer sucks. It will leave a person with that knee-jerk reaction of feeling heartbroken and disappointed that their work is not up to snuff. However, I want to take a moment to say that rejection is NOT A BAD THING.
Let me repeat. REJECTION IS NOT A BAD THING.
From my experience, there are two ways a writer can recover from rejection. You can live in despair forever and never write again–which if this is the case, perhaps you weren’t meant to be a writer to begin with–or you can nut up, Buttercup, and realize that the rejection is one step closer to acceptance and learn what the pass is trying to teach you.
Me, I always go for option number 2.
This can hold true for form or personal rejections, I have found. Allow me to provide some examples.
Let’s look at form rejections for a minute, shall we? You might think that the editor/publisher/agent, etc. who denied your work didn’t care about your submission enough. When I get a form response, I’ll take a look at the work, and if I still feel good about what I’ve written, then I consider that the form response is telling me one of two things. Either what I’ve submitted is too similar to something the place I’ve sent the sample to is producing, or perhaps, its just not the right market (writing to market is another topic I’ll get to later when I have the spoons, but is also something that is important to understand).
Now let’s take a look at personal rejections. These can give a momentary feeling of a knife still being stuck in the gut, but when you get a personal response, its a general indication you’ve leveled up, and you just need to fine-tune. I just received one of the best personal rejections two days ago in which the editor clearly stated why she passed, but then stated the work was strong enough to publish. I couldn’t have asked for a better response, because it made me realize I was almost there.
As that same editor also told me, opinions amongst editors and first readers can vary widely, so don’t be afraid to keep putting yourself up there.
Rejections are not mistakes, they are not bad things. They are LEARNING EXPERIENCES. Take the time to look at the positives of what you can learn from them, and I assure you, it will only help develop your craft until the door opens.