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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Rejection Isn't The End

by Patricia Bradley

I met a writer once who kept every rejection letter she ever received. Over 10,000 letters. I was thinking about her the other day, and not just her, but all the writers out there who keep writing through rejections.

If you are breathing…or writing (they’re the same thing, right?), you’ve experienced rejection at some point in your life. And have not only been rejected, but if you’re a published author, you’ve received a bad review. Or two. So, what do you do when that happens? How do you keep on writing?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  ~President Theodore Roosevelt

I love the quote from Theodore Roosevelt. The person in the arena. You.

Rejection can paralyze a writer, whether it’s from an editor or a reader. How long depends on the writer. So, again, how do you pick yourself up and stare at that blank page after rejection? Like in writing, there’s no right or wrong answer—what works for one writer, doesn’t work for another, but I’d like to make a suggestion or two.

First, allow yourself to feel bad (actually wallow in your pity) for a day…maybe two days if you need to. It’s important to allow yourself to feel disappointment about a rejection. If you try to deny you’re disappointed, it will take longer to get past it.

Once the day (or two) passes, look for the silver lining in the rejection. And there usually is one. If you’ve entered a contest but didn't win, look at what the judges said and evaluate their comments. You probably won’t agree with them…at first, but at least look at the comments objectively. See if there is any validity in them. The same thing with a rejection from an editor or agent. If you receive suggestions that will make your manuscript a fit for them, are you willing to do the rewrites?

Always remember that not everyone will like what you write or how you write. If you understand that from the get-go, it will make rejection much easier. The important thing is to get back in front of the computer and start writing again. Be that person in the arena. Channel that pain into your heroine. Open that vein and bleed all over your paper.

Oh, and that writer who collected all those rejections? Her name was Christie Craig, and she kept writing, and eventually landed an agent who sent her manuscripts out — six by now. One day the agent called and asked if she was sitting down. Christie asked the agent if she’d sold a book, and the agent replied no, and her heart sank.

She hadn’t sold a book, she’d sold four! Read more about Christie Craig here.

So, if when you get a rejection, accept it, try to learn from it, and then get back to what you were created to do—go write!


Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi with her rescue kitty Suzy and loves to write suspense with a twist of romance. Her books include the Logan Point series and two Harlequin Heartwarming romances. Justice Delayed, a Memphis Cold Case Novel, is the first book in her next series and it releases January 31, 2017. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

It's been eighteen years since TV crime reporter Andi Hollister's sister was murdered. The confessed killer is behind bars, and the execution date is looming. But when a letter surfaces stating that the condemned killer didn't actually do it, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the bottom of it. After all, this case is personal: the person who confessed to the crime is Will's cousin. They have less than a week to find the real killer before the wrong person is executed. But much can be accomplished in that week--including uncovering police corruption, running for your life, and falling in love.

With the perfect mixture of intrigue and nail-biting suspense, award-winning author Patricia Bradley invites her readers to crack the case--if they can--alongside the best Memphis has to offer.

1 comment:

  1. Patricia--well-said. If rejection is keeping you from writing, make whatever emotional adjustments are necessary, because rejection is a way of life for writers. But keep trying.
    I like the quotation from Theodore Roosevelt, and get a thrill each time Tom Selleck quotes it on Blue Bloods. The credit goes to the man or woman in the arena who goes down swinging, not to the one who has never tried or quit because of rejection.


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