For aspiring writers, getting that foot through the door can be difficult. Whether you're an aspiring author, journalist, poet, etc., the cliff you take that leap of faith off of can seem like a very steep fall into an abyss of failure. We've all been there.
However, I would be lying if I said my very first rejection letter didn't end up leaving me feeling lower than anticipated. This led to the realization that most writers like me, have also been taunted by that overwhelming feeling of disappointment, which becomes the cause of a very drastic decline in self confidence, and an agonizing increase writer's block.
Despite how intense the burn can feel once you open that letter, there are a few ways you can allow yourself to cope without losing track of the progress you've made.
1. Rejections Aren't Reflections
Receiving a rejection letter stings. Although you may feel like your writing was somehow not "good enough," remind yourself that rejections are not reflections. When the publisher/editor says your writing "just wasn't what they were looking for," it's not an indicator that your writing wasn't good or that they didn't like it, it just wasn't what they were looking for, literally.
2. Be Constructive, Not Destructive!
When feeling as though your writing isn't good enough, it may be easier for you to drag yourself into the bottomless pit of intrusive, insecure thoughts you may have about your work. Instead of using rejection letters as a green light to tear apart your writing, try your best to allow them to motivate you to continue making progress on your pieces and individual writing style! This can be difficult at first, but remember that no piece of writing is perfect, so there is always room to improve!
3. Don't Stop There! Keep Submitting!
The worst thing you could do is allow yourself to stop submitting your writing due to rejection(s). Believe me, I sometimes stare at my own writing until I hate it too. One rejection definitely has the ability to make you hesitant to submit your work anywhere else. You don't have to enable that ability, though! Receiving rejections as a writer, especially when you're just starting out, is inevitable. In case you're in need of extra reassurance, many successful writers were rejected several times before finally getting their big break (i.e. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, etc.)! Definitely keep this in mind when you feel yourself getting cold feet before hitting that submit button! You never know which submission will be your door opener!
4. Don't Delete Your Old Work
While it may be tempting to remove your older work, first-drafts, or even rejected pieces, it is a decision you may end up regretting in the future! Saving all of your work, whether it's been updated, rejected or even unfinished, is an important must for all aspiring writers. You may end up needing to pull quotes or references from your past writing, or you may decide a character in an archived story could have a plot-twisting involvement in your up-and-coming novel! Saving all of your pieces can also help you track your improvement and growth as a writer. You may thank yourself in the long run for keeping your work!
And last, but not least:
5. Hold Onto Your Confidence!
The writing field is a very competitive, and sometimes ruthless, field to frolic in. Comparing yourself to other writers and their progress or success can be very difficult not to do, especially when you feel so far away from where you want to be with your writing. As the old saying goes: "a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." Remind yourself that your writing is worth reading and it's what you love to do! Although you may not be exactly where you want to be with your work, having the courage to put it out there already puts you so much further than where you started!
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