Accepting Rejection

Neva at poetry workshopby Neva Bodin

I just found out someone can hire a professional blogger…for $11.95 a blog. Perhaps there’s an employment opportunity! It’s on a website called

And I found an article I had saved a long time ago that first appeared in the Victorian Writers’ Centre newsletter, if that even still exists. It was about surviving rejection of manuscripts.

It listed many now famous authors and their now famous stories that were rejected multiple times. It then said being rejected can be a big plus—it may cause re-writes and new stories that are better.

Rejections may include suggestions on what’s wrong so a writer may improve. Also, publishers who reject a manuscript are not always right. A recent speaker at the writer’s conference I attended had published twenty books and was told by a new publisher that she was a terrible writer and should not write anything. Needless to say, she went with a different publisher.

This article said only 5% of the success of a writer may be talent, the rest comes from skill and persistence—perhaps 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration.

It takes a strong person I think, however, to rise above rejection and persevere. I believe it may have to be an attitude adjustment.

I have an e-mail signature that contains the following quote to remind myself: “Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them,” by Isaac Asimov

Dale Carnegie said, “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” Perhaps the publishers think that about us, and vice versa. And we’d both be right.

Rejections of any kind are lacerations of the soul to me. I marvel at a two year old who is told “NO!” emphatically when he or she tries something forbidden. They usually just look you in the eye and try again.

When do we lose that ability to filter out the part that makes us feel like less than we are, and just try again? I’ve heard God makes us a ten, we do our own subtracting.

If we look at a 25 cent piece and say, “That isn’t worth 25 cents,” does that make it worth less? Does what others say about us or our writing make us or the writing worth less? Maybe I’m comparing apples and oranges here…but we need to truly discern the other person’s ability to judge, and whether we need to make changes, in ourselves or our writing.

Let’s not be so quick to accept another’s opinion. I am learning to look at a critique as affirmation that I have something that is worth critiquing! And also that I am just as valuable in my opinion as the person who critiques me is—and I can still be the final judge!

How are you at handling critiques?