Monday, February 22, 2010

Dealing with Rejection

When I ran a writers' group in the Sayreville Public Library many years ago, the fear of rejection was the most common worry I heard from members. No one seemed half as concerned about the quality of their story or, for that matter, receiving constructive criticism.

I suppose this fear of rejection is understandable. Beginning writers cannot fathom how all those hours of unleashing their talent, those moments of loosing their innermost secrets, and those eternities of extricating their very soul could result in such a thoughtless, heartless "No thanks."

Becoming a serious writer, however, means getting accustomed to rejection. The most famous authors the world over have had far more than their fair share of manuscript rejections, as this article by the Gotham Writers' Workshop so clearly shows. The first three tips in the article—laugh at your rejections, learn from your rejections, and always have a new project in the works—have composed my mantra for a quarter-century.

Just as the sages have proclaimed, “Better to have lost love than never to have loved or been loved,” wise writers would agree that it is better to have a manuscript rejected than not to have written one at all.

My book How to Write Fast Under Pressure is on sale through AMACOM Books.