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The Only Way to Stop Feeling Rejected as a Writer – Lizzie Harwood
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The Only Way to Stop Feeling Rejected as a Writer

Lizzie Harwood / Pep Talk  / The Only Way to Stop Feeling Rejected as a Writer

The Only Way to Stop Feeling Rejected as a Writer

Cue the violin music, thing’s are about to get emotional.

One of my writer buddies has been receiving rejections from the Big 5 Publishers. After spending three years on her book. Plus a huge amount of time and $$$ on writing classes, submissions, hone your craft stuff, platform building, networking, and pow-pows with literary agents. Her agent says, ‘Don’t give up hope’ but she’s now somewhere between disappointed and hopeful. More than disappointed. She feels rejected.

I’m here to share how to deal with this so the pain goes away. It’s not the way you think. I’m not going to say, Your time will come. Keep submitting away. I’m not going to point out the 47 rejections X Y or Z famous author endured (and gloss over the deaths of those like Virginia Woolf or John Kennedy Toole). I’m not going to say, If this isn’t meant to be become a salmon farmer or something, you have loads of talents. I’m not going to pipe up with: Well, just indie publish like everyone else! Look at those authors making 6-figures on Amazon!

The truth is, Band-Aid talk doesn’t fix the rejection.

Another truth is, each writer’s path to publication is unique. 

What you must do is continue to love your book, love yourself, believe in yourself. Carole from Hachette can’t take that away from you, sister! Putting your book out there took all the control out of your hands. It’s time to take control back. But not in the way you think.

When your book’s been kicked in the face, pick it up and reread it from beginning to end. Smile at the good bits. Highlight the bits that make you frown, wince or cringe. It could be that it could do with some more work. Yep, I just said that. I don’t mean that it’s not good, or great even. I don’t mean the subtleties need a tweak such as it misses its mark a little on chapter 2, or the Intro is unclear as to its audience, or there’s a paragraph on page 53 that’s slightly clever-for-cleverness’s-sake…

I mean: It may not have crawled out of your HEART. It might have come out of your head. It might have squirreled out of you when you were fixated on meeting a deadline rather than meeting yourself on the page.

You know, like meeting your soul. It’s your soul that’s missing on page 53.

The soul thing applies to all genre: humor, historical mysteries, Amish sci-fi, travel memoir.

Do a heart and soul scan of your manuscript.

And then, you know, don’t chuck the whole project out the window… because the cool thing about working on the book some more (by putting you and your heart in it) is that the rejection disappears because it’s no longer the same book Carole at Hachette considered and said, Meh to. That book won’t exist any longer.

When I look back at the early drafts of the books I’ve published, I cringe. Imagine if those miscreants were out there being read? It makes me feel quite unwell. Readers may still dislike something I’ve written, but I know I’ve rewritten those stories and chapters 20 times. I put all my internal organs into those books. Plus pints of blood. ETC.

Anyway, the stuff that now seems sans-soul? Not ringing true? Put it in a folder called Purple Prose and someday there’ll be content in there that you can use–maybe. It’s future potential stuff. Or turn it into blog posts about how you became an overnight success. *wink*

It’s okay to ignore rejection, too, if you have the denial skills to pretend it didn’t hurt. Or put those cruel people on an EFF-u list. Or a list of bad-people-who-have-done-bad-things list, like my mom keeps for those she deems have wronged me.

But they’re people. They’re doing their job. Their job is to not spend all of Penguin Random House’s money — or whoever they work for. Maybe you want to look into other ways to get your creative works out there… and again, each of us has our own ways to Rome and, of course, Penguin still needs authors! So why not you?

Which leads us back to Carole from Hachette’s “Sorry but I’ll pass.” I just want to deal with that hurt. (By the way, I’m making up “Carole” and “Hachette” please God don’t let there be a Carole at Hachette who just put me on her EFF-u list.)

Most of us instinctively stop listening when publishing professionals say we’re not standing out, or the writing was a bit too “seen it before.” It’s vital intel though. They responded from their heart. Or gut. Listen to their response, react how you need to (or you’ll never get closure, honey) and then listen to your heart.

I told you we needed to cue the violin music. *orchestral swell*

Maybe Carole from Hachette wanted you to write the bravest thing you can stand to write.

I know you can do that.



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