I remember my first rejection letter. It was quite a number of years ago now, when my boys were young. I went and hid in the bedroom to open the “all important” parcel.

Trembling, I carefully opened the envelope and pulled out my manuscript. Without reading a word, I already knew what was in the brief letter attached because I assumed that if they were interested in my work then I’d be pulling a contract out of the envelope instead of my manuscript. I was right!


After many tears, I put the manuscript, and the letter, away and didn’t write another word for several years. The reason? I’d been rejected, which meant I couldn’t write. (I was young, and it was long before the internet existed, and I had no support–so you’ll have to forgive my way of thinking back then.)

About five years ago I started writing again. Maturity allowed me to read that rejection letter and realise that it wasn’t personal, it was a standard wording. This allowed me to pull the pieces together and find a new confidence.

Since then, I’ve received a number of rejections. All standard letters, but I never allowed myself to make the same mistake as I did with that first one. Naturally, finding the internet and a support base helped too.

If you’re a serious writer, you need to be thick skinned. You can’t afford to cry in a corner. There isn’t time for that. Besides, time is precious so why waste it feeling sorry for yourself. Get the work back “out there” and do it immediately!

Today, I received another rejection letter. It started with Dear Writer which means that it was a standard letter too. Whilst it was nicely worded and encouraging, I skimmed over it and dismissed it. They don’t want my story, fine, who’s next on my list? The story will be in the post, to the next publisher, by the end of the week.


2 thoughts on “Rejected!

  1. My son sent out his first story yesterday. It was to an internet site, and he was rejected. He cried, and I comforted him. I mostly talked about how I feel he’s a great writer. But everyone has a different opinion. I reminded him that even very popular books are hated by some people. I hope I was able to help him feel better. He’s been in a great mood since then, so hopefully….

    I feel I never got that from my parents. The sense I got was that since I received rejection letters, they believed this meant I was NOT a good writer. I wish my parents had done more to cheer me on.

    I think it IS okay to feel sad about being rejected. There’s nothing wrong with shedding a few tears of disappointment. But then you remind yourself that you can get a thousand rejection letters and still be an awesome writer. Then, as you said, you pick up and start working again.

  2. I agree that encouragement is welcome when we set out on a new path…and is still welcome when we’ve been on that path for a long time. Not having support is damaging in so many ways as we start to believe that little voice in our head telling us that we’re useless.

    Your son has been rejected. That means he has finished a story and that’s a great achievement. He should be proud of that alone. If he continues to write, he’ll always get better at the craft. If he continues to submit, he’ll stand a chance of acceptance. I wish him the best of luck.

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