Dr. Jeri Fink

               Author. Traveler. Therapist.
Whaddya Think, Dr. Fink?

Seven Basic Steps for Coping With The Write Rejection


   Nobody likes rejection. It a great lead-in for psychotherapy. Writers, with their habit of spilling their hearts on paper, are particularly vulnerable. I know. I'm a writer, a therapist, and a human being. Sometimes it's tough to keep that all together in one head. So I decided it was time to work out some coping skills for The Write Rejection.


1. There are three types of The Write Rejection:

   a. The Bad Rejection is a rude, outright no without any sappy apologies.

   b. The Good Rejection is a rude, outright no with a lame excuse or a few scrawled words of encouragement like "good luck somewhere else."

   c. The Un-Rejection is no response, as if you were scattered in the black hole of cyberspace or buried with sacks of  USPS lost mail. If you're lucky, the paper rejection letter might resurface in fifty years when the mail sacks are discovered in an old train tunnel. The stamp will be worth something.

 2. How can a writer cope? The first thing is to go out and purchase a pint of  Hagen Daz Rum Raisin ice cream. It's not quite a drink, but it fits the bill. Of course, if you prefer Ben & Jerry's Fudge Nut Brownie or (shudder) a Triple Chocoholic Blizzard from Dairy Queen, who's to argue? Settle down with your favorite spoon (never a bowl) and go to town.

3. While you're eating ice cream, think about famous rejections. Gone With The Wind was rejected thirty-eight times. Harry Potter was rejected nine times by big guys like Penguin and HarperCollins. I bet those wizards are still shaking their wands.  Animal Farm was turned down because "it's impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S." Even Chicken Soup For The Soul was cast off thirty-three times, with comments like it's "too positive." Now you're in their club. Congratulations.

4. Stab your ice cream and ask the question: who rejected me?

5. Visualize the editors. Maybe your rejection came from the employee who just graduated grade school? Or the guy who had too many martinis for lunch? Think of their words of wisdom. The Diary of Anne Frank was rejected with the insightful observation that "the girl doesn't have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the 'curiosity' level."  Rudyard Kipling was told, by the editor of the San Francisco Examiner, "you just don't know how to use the English language." Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos was tossed off with the comment, "do you realize, young woman, that you're the first American writer ever to poke fun at sex?"

6. Consider revenge. Stephen King kept his rejections nailed on a spike under a timber in his bedroom. e.e. cummings dedicated his first work, The Enormous Room, to the fifteen publishers who rejected it. D. Judson Hindes, a self-published science fiction writer, printed his rejections on a roll of toilet paper. Lulu.com/tp offers this service to anyone who wants the chance to put their rejections "behind them."

7. Laugh at all the publishers . . . and editors . . . who are out of work. Now they're in your club.

Keep writing! Remember, you're lucky. Most people who hear voices and see imaginary faces in their heads are given diagnoses. You receive rejection letters.

Originally appeared on Literal Exposure
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