Insecure Writers Support Group: rejection

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"Let's rock the neurotic writing world!" Alex J Cavanaugh

It’s time for this month’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group post!

Something that feeds many writers’ insecurities is rejection. Whether that rejection comes from an agent, a publisher, or even a beta reader (in the form of highly negative comments), it always hurts and can make us question whether we’re cut out for this writing caper.

As much as rejection sucks, it’s pretty much inevitable that every writer will experience it at some point in their journey. In fact, most published authors were rejected by publishers before they were accepted. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel a little better when I hear that best selling books by authors like J K Rowling and John Grisham were rejected multiple times – not because I’m sadistic, but because it reminds me of the subjectivity of the reading experience. Just because one person (agent, publisher, reader) doesn’t connect with my work doesn’t mean others won’t. And it also doesn’t mean my work is rubbish (although it may mean that it needs more work).

If you’d like to read more about big name authors’ battle scars, check out this awesome post Ann Riley wrote for Aimee Salter’s The Write Life. It definitely helped me to put things in perspective, and I plan to revisit it whenever I feel glum about my own rejections!

P.S. Don’t forget to support other insecure writers!

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24 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Fear, Insecure Writers Support Group, Writers, Writing

24 responses to “Insecure Writers Support Group: rejection

  1. These are well-known facts, so sorry if I’m demeaning you but it’s strange and comforting up think of these big names with rejections:

    Kathryn Stockett, NYT bestselling author = 60 for “The Help”.
    Lauren Kate, NYT bestselling author = over 100 before she had anything published
    Magpie Stiefvater, NYT bestselling author = hundreds!

  2. Rejections are so tough. JK Rowling is my inspiration in many ways. I’m not a ‘fan’ kind of gal, but if there is one person that would be exciting to meet it would be her.

    All we can do is have a supportive network around us that keeps us going. πŸ™‚

    • I know what you mean about JK Rowling. I do have a tendency to become fan-ish (I was going to write fan-ny but realised how wrong that looked!!) so I think I’d go out of my skin if I got the opportunity to meet her. I’m also a Twihard, so would be equally excited to meet Stephenie Meyer. πŸ™‚

  3. Thank you for the link to that post! It has cheered me greatly and I think I will print it out and paste it to my wall! Coincidentally, I just finished reading The Help and it is truly one of the best books I’ve ever read – 60 plus rejections! πŸ™‚

    • It’s a wonderful post, isn’t it? I have bookmarked it and will no doubt be visiting it frequently as the rejections of my own masterpiece mount up ;-).

      I haven’t read The Help yet but it’s definitely on the list. It’s amazing to think how many people rejected it and how acclaimed it has become. Gets you thinking, doesn’t it?

  4. It’s good to look at the pros and realize how tough it was for them. But some people never see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s good not to let despair set in because there are so many people clamoring to get things published.

    • That’s right, Michael. The competition is fierce so unfortunately many amazing books may never be picked up by traditional publishers. But despairing about that will get you nowhere – except miserable. If I ever seem like I’m going too far down that line, please give me a reality check! πŸ™‚

  5. Thanks for the reminder about rejection. I’ve just programmed myself to expect it…still sucks though.

    • Yep, it does suck and being able to take it on the chin is important. But it’s also important to remember that one person not liking your work doesn’t mean that no one will. You’ve just got to find your ideal readers. πŸ™‚

  6. I too take comfort from the bestselling authors’ tales of rejections. It is something that happens to every writer.

    Going to check out Ann Riley’s post now. Thanks for sharing…

  7. It’s REALLY encouraging to hear stories of well-known authors who got rejected early on. It gives us hope! πŸ™‚

  8. Harsh beta’s… *looks over shoulder* hope I didn’t spark this! :/

    Though, it’s true, rejection stings, but it can also be helpful if done with good intentions!

    • Hahahaha, no you definitely didn’t spark this. I just wanted to demonstrate that writers can experience rejection beyond that which immediately springs to mind (i.e. agent/publisher rejection).

      Although some of your feedback has been critical, it’s been amazingly helpful and always written in a supportive way. Harsh beta feedback would be more along the lines of ‘This book is crap, I think you should just give up now.’ Thankfully I haven’t got feedback anywhere close to that so far! πŸ™‚

  9. I often like to think of J K Rowling’s story when I think of being rejected. If people could reject HARRY POTTER, then… well, people could reject anything awesome! So I won’t feel too bad when I get rejected!

    • Yep, totally agree. Don’t these people recognise brilliance when they see it?? (Clearly I’m referring to your and my work when I say that, and I guess J K Rowling’s too!) πŸ˜‰

  10. I’m just getting to the beta/crit stage for the first time. Thank you for these words, I may need them πŸ™‚

    • Hehehe, fingers crossed you don’t! Although you’re opening yourself up for criticism, beta/critting is invaluable. It’s really helped me to see what’s actually written on the page, instead of the story in my head that I think I’ve communicated! πŸ™‚

  11. interesting statistics but not surprising. It kind of makes you wonder about the good books that did not get through.

  12. I regard rejection as better than indifference. I know from my reading group that many people come along with mainly negative comments about a novel and change their minds. They often like it a lot more after discussing it with others.When someone takes the time to criticise, they are showing respect. It is not easy to connect with pleasure emotions because it usually involves a learning experience. Few of us know what we like in advance, so reading someone’s novel is an adventure, that can be plagued by bad luck and idiosyncracies. So don’t let rejection get you down: it means people care!

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