Is there anything more frustrating than getting turned down for a writing job? A polka band maybe. It’s even worse when you know you meet all qualifications. You can write, you can edit, you can research…so why aren’t people hiring you, or publishing your words? For many, making a good living as a writer is the exception, rather than the rule. Everyone else works day jobs, or night jobs, writing in the precious spare minutes at the end of the day. They all have one thing in common. They’re all hoping for that one big break they know is just around the corner. The thing about that one big break…is it is something that must be earned, not given. #CreativeWriting is a roller coaster of, writing, submitting, and rejection. Pick almost any writer, of any genre. Study them, learn from them. They aren’t lucky their writing was published. There is no giant lotto wheel that picks authors at random. No, they had to work hard to achieve success. Every writer has been knocked down. The good ones, get back up. The great ones learn new ways how not to fall. Rejection is just a matter of perspective.
Great writing is made of many components depending on its intended purpose. Great writers are a combination of skill, tenacity, and raw talent. The talent part, well, you either have it, or you don’t. There is no way to teach someone talent. Skill and tenacity however, those are things that can be improved upon.
Getting rejected by publishers is just one step of the process. It’s what you do after rejection that matters. Learn from it and move on, or sit on the couch with a gallon of your favorite ice cream. What you may not have realized, is that our failures are many times a product of our own ignorance. If you don’t like rejection, fix the problem. Do your homework. Before submitting any writing, whether a novel, or a pitch as a freelance writer, it’s a good idea to know if you’re what publishers are looking for. Scan through their websites, blogs, #published materials, and their audience. Is your writing similar in style and genre? Are you targeting the same audience? Thirty minutes of research can greatly improve your odds of submitting to the right publisher. If you get rejected, start over. Revamp your tag line and synopsis. Make sure it grabs the reader’s attention. Make sure the opening chapter draws the reader in. Most important, after you have re-worked your proposal, keep submitting.
In my experience, most people have the ability to write something. However, the fact that they wrote something does not grant them the right to be on the best seller list with a book signing tour. There is a lot of hard work to make it that far. Even then, most writers will never receive such esteemed honors. That doesn’t mean your words aren’t worthy of publication. It doesn’t mean that it is time to tuck tail and give up. It just means you have not reached that level of writing yet. Getting rejected can sometimes be your greatest tool for understanding where you went wrong, giving you areas you need to work on. Because you can’t know success, if you haven’t known failure.