Nancy's Books

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dealing with Rejection, part 2

"A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success."-Bo Bennett 

If a story is rejected several times, I shelve it for a few weeks, or months, and then reevaluate it. When I reread a shelved manuscript, I look for reasons the story is NOT publishable. If enough reasons pop up their ugly heads and I can’t figure out a way to correct the ugliness, I reshelve the rascal. Not all manuscripts are publishable, but I never discard one. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to rehab at some point in the future. Maybe my skills as a writer haven’t developed enough to write in a particular style. Maybe I’ll hone those skills and produce a better story later. Maybe I’ll use bits and pieces of a non-publishable work in another manuscript where they are a cozy fit. 

I try to appreciate the rejections. Hard to believe, huh? Some editors provide notes on what didn’t or did work. That gives me a basis from which to reevaluate the piece. Or a string of rejections with no comments also speaks volumes. Either way, I’ve learned.  

Fact: I can’t change the marketplace, but I can change what I write, so I focus on what I can control. I work to improve my writing and place all my energy on what I can change.

Develop a thick skin so rejection can’t become disabling. I’ve received so many rejections over the years, hundreds really. They still perturb me with a wasp-like sting, but I never think that I’ll quit writing because of one or two or more.  

Every writer works at his/her own pace. There is no right or wrong recipe for success. Try writing  in different genres and follow work schedules that adapt to your lifestyle. When I’ve done everything I can and still receive a rejection, I think of it as proof of my efforts. I finished the manuscript and shipped it out so that’s worthy of celebration. Pass the chocolate, please. 

Call for submissions for Young Writers

Ember is a semiannual journal of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction for all age groups. Submissions for and by readers aged 10 to 18 are strongly encouraged.
Submissions are managed through our Submission Manager, powered by Submittable. If you submit by e-mail, we will direct you to use our Submission Manager instead. A link to the submission manager can be found at the bottom of this page, after you have read through the submission guidelines.

Call for submissions for Adult Writers

Intergeneration Storytelling Contest rules:
  1. Stories must include characters from more than one generation.
  2. Stories must be original and unpublished, and may be fiction, non-fiction, or a combination.
  3. Stories may not exceed 400 words.
  4. Stories must be provided via copying and pasting the text into the body of your e-mail submission.
  5. Your e-mail submission must be sent through our website’s submission form, and include the author’s name, exact mailing address and e-mail contact in order that all winners may be advised immediately upon winning (contact information will remain private).
Deadline:  September 30, 2016.

Submission guidelines at


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