That First Rejection Letter

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Rejection. We all hate it, whether it be rejection from a crush, rejection from a job application and more specifically to us writers; rejection from publishers. That is the crusher of dreams, killer of souls and the destruction of our motivation and creativity. 

But it doesn’t have to be. 

Firstly I admire and applaud any new writer, unpublished writer and young writer branching out, taking a leap of faith into querying agents. 

You are so brave. 

And that is how you have to look at this journey. 

A journey of bravery, courage and self-belief. 

When you send your manuscript to a publisher, you are not only giving professionals an opportunity to scrutinize and judge you, but you are also letting them see and access your creativity. 

Stepping away from your comfort zone is hard, if you have published to writing sites such as Wattpad and Inkitt you are taking on a whole new game. 

These sites are free to upload, free to use and free to read. The word free is important here, as you can’t really complain when it is free. Even though criticism and keyboard bullies are able to contact you, you are safe in the knowledge that your work is free and no one is being charged for your efforts, and grammar errors. 

So stepping into the world of profit margins, book sales and money profit…. Well, that is an entirely new mindset to grasp. 

That first rejection letter sucks. Yep, you will get one or two, or maybe two hundred but you don’t stop. JK Rowling was rejected fifteen by publishers. Stephen King was rejected twenty times.

Rejection is a part of our life. That is a fact. 

But how you react to it can change how you see it. 

Many will draw on the negative side of rejection. They will say to themselves that they are no good, their writing is horrible and their story is rubbish.

Negative thoughts drive negative attitudes. 

You will never improve if you think negatively. Fact. You will hold yourself back and therefore ruin your chances of ever seeing your book in bookstores. 

So how to handle your first rejection? 

Tell yourself ‘I’m just not there, yet.’ 

So, what can you improve? Take time to pick your dreams off the floor and begin to dive into your passion. 

Writing takes time to nurture and improve, your first draft will never be your final so pick up your pen, open your laptop and edit. If you love your story enough to query an agent then believe in it enough to give it a third, fourth, maybe even a fifth draft. 

Step away from it from time to time. Ploughing all your energy into editing and drafting can frustrate even the calmest of writers. So, stop and breathe. Relax, read your favourite book, go for a walk or find a writing prompt and let new creativity flow through you. 

This is your baby, keep loving it and nurturing it.

Only you can love your book the most. Be your own advocate, fall in love in your own work. Remember that one publisher may have simply read one page and said ‘nope not for me’. But that is one in thousands of publishers and agents. Don’t let them defeat you. Remember, not everyone likes the same flavoured ice cream. 

Reach out to people reading your story, your beta readers. These could be loyal fans on writing sites or your friends. Tell them to honestly tell you what they loved and hated about the story. 

That first rejection letter will make you sad, may even make you cry. But it’s not the end, it is only the world telling you that you are not there just yet. 

Writing is subjective, writing is tough but so are writers. We have to grow a thick skin, take the good and the bad, and still get up to write the next chapter. 

That first rejection won’t break you. Nothing can break you if you don’t let it. It will simply make you work harder and the fire in you burn brighter. 

Giving up. That is easy. It is easy to call it a day, throw in the towel and walk away. Carrying on in the bad times? Well, that takes bravery, courage and self belief. 

Keep writing. 

Keep going. 

And NEVER, ever give up. 

An article by Belle Dowson

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