You’ve Been Rejected. Just Accept It.

I’ve received a ton, and sent a ton out. Rejection slips: one of nature’s most concentrated forms of pain. There are many ways to respond to rejection slips. Lynne Barrett at The Review Review provides us with the most important DON’T:

Do not take the rejection slip, underline words or phrases on it, and send it back with a scrawled note saying: “‘Doesn’t suit your needs at this time?’ YOUR needs? Well, who cares about you and your pretentious magazine that I never liked anyway, etc., etc.”  When people do this, editors post the missives in the office, to be mocked as coming from an immature writer who completely misunderstands how impersonal this is. You may set fire to rejection slips, show them proudly to your friends, use them as coasters for consolatory margaritas, but do not write anything in response.

I’m reminded of a time when an author responded to one of my rejection forms with “Did you even read my story?” I had to reply, “Of course, and I didn’t like it. That’s why I rejected it.”

It’s impossible to argue someone into liking a story, for many of the same reasons that it’s impossible to argue that someone should love someone else. Instead, authors, accept rejection, and remember that, even in your darkest moment of self doubt, at least you’re not an actor. No one will ever say to you, “You’re brilliant. It’s too bad you’re three inches too short, a shade too dark, and twenty pounds too heavy,” all of which will be weird because it was a voiceover audition.

Think about it, won’t you?

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