How many of you have ever received a rejection letter? I know I have several times. I’ve sent some of my short stories out into the world to see if they can fly. I’ve had pretty much every single one of them turned down, though I did get some interesting and useful feedback on a couple of them.
In Stephen King’s book On Writing, he talks about saving all of his rejection letters and getting to the point where he had to use a railroad spike to keep them all up on the wall. In this digital age, it’s tempting to delete the emails or, if they’re sent as paper rejections, to just toss them. But I don’t agree with that.
Each rejection is a badge of honor. It shows you aren’t giving up on your dream. It shows you may not be perfect yet, but you’re trying and that’s what’s key in all of this. You may even find someone else who you didn’t think about that might like your stories over the ones you originally submitted them to. And you never know when a “no” might later lead to a “yes” when you submit a different project.
When I got my first rejection email, I was devastated. I hadn’t developed the thick skin recommended for authors. I almost quit writing. But my husband pushed at me and told me to keep writing. I’ve done just that. I may not be published yet, but I haven’t stopped writing. I have my dry spells where I’ll do something else like reading to lift me up over my slump. But I keep writing. I know that some day, the “no” will be a “yes”.
Be proud of your rejection letters. It’s showing that you’re brave enough to send your babies out into the world. Learn from those that offer advice to improve your writing and take it as a note that you’re doing something good for yourself.