Thursday 23 June 2016

Rejection Letter

A page in my journal of rejection letters.
Every so often, I forget how difficult it is to deal with rejection letters and wonder why I haven't been sending out my writing.  I become motivated and send out everything I've written, expecting that this time things will be different.  I've been writing for even longer now, I must be ready for publication.  A few weeks of hopeful expectation passes and then the rejections letters begin.

Mostly, rejection letters are form letters.  When I started sending things out, I used snail mail and I collected these letters in a notebook.  Now, I can save my postage most of the time and send my writing via email.  But, other than than, the process is the same.  Write a cover letter, send out what you think is your best work and wait in hopes of being accepted.

Today, I received a rejection with notes.  This response to my submission was optional.  I opted to hear the truth.  It was brutal.  While I greatly appreciate the time it took to reply to my work, I can't help but wonder if it could have been tempered with something good.  Perhaps this is hypocritical of me, but as a teacher, I know how important it is to look for the good in student's work while gently suggesting a bit of improvement.  It's so easy to focus on the negative.  Now, I'm thinking this story is beyond help.  Perhaps I should never have ventured outside my genre.

I'm trying to encourage myself with Julia Cameron's advice.  "And so, in order to be a good writer, I The Right to Write, p. 23).  She also says "The best and rarest criticism is constructive, and very few people know how to give it. . . "All (a writer) needs to find (their) stride . . . is encouragement and safety.  This does not mean that aesthetics go out the window.  It means, however, that we need to take the time and the space to discover our own aesthetic, and that does not happen when we get involved with instant cup of soup criticism and art by consensus." (p. 177).
have to be willing to be a bad writer.  I have to be willing to let my thoughts and images be as contradictory as the evening firing its fireworks outside my window."  (

So, perhaps the reaction of not wanting to send out any more writing is a healthy one.  Cameron calls it "Containment".  I'll let this batch of submissions run its course and allow myself to forget the sting of rejection until I'm ready to try again.  I am tempted to post the rejected story here, however.  I don't think I'll be able to send it out again.  It's tarnished now by the impressions of others.  I'd love a bit of advice here.  


  1. Ugh! This is so rough. I'm so sorry you got such an unhelpful reply. Maybe that person was just having a bad day and had to take it out on someone. Maybe it's meant to get you even more determined to follow your own path. Or maybe that story was actually meant for greater things than that opportunity could have offered.


    1. Thank you Katie!!! Such a helpful comment. There's nothing better than a writer friend when you are having writer problems!