I recently submitted a short story for an anthology and got the e-mail today letting me know that it was not selected. I'll admit, it stings a little. Although I have had a regular article published in a monthly magazine on the subject of health, the writing I would like to see published is my fiction writing. In my first attempt at getting my fiction published, I was rejected. It would have been helpful if a reason had been stated in order to help me to hone my craft, but I wasn't expecting one anyway.
So what am I going to do about it? Am I going to wallow in defeat and decide that my writing isn't worthy enough? Am I going to take it as a sign that I should never even be attempting to write fiction and that I'll never make it as a fiction writer?
Of course not! I will take another look at the short story I wrote and think of ways I can improve it, and then I will move on to the next project in my list of writing projects.
Some points that I think all writers need to learn from rejection are this:
1. All writers receive rejections. Even some of your favorite authors have had their work rejected. That didn't stop them from getting published later.
"No one is asking, let alone demanding, that you write. The world is not waiting with bated breath for your article or book. Whether or not you get a single word on paper, the sun will rise, the earth will spin, the universe will expand. Writing is forever and always a choice - your choice." ~Beth Mende Conny
2. A rejection doesn't mean you are not a good writer. It just means that your writing was not what they were looking for at the time. It might mean you need to improve your writing, but it doesn't mean that your writing has no value.
"If you don't allow yourself the possibility of writing something very, very bad, it would be hard to write something very good." ~Steven Galloway
3. A rejection does not mean that you will never be published. Again, every writer has had their writing rejected at some time. It happens even to the best of writers.
"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail." ~Confucius
4. You can learn from failure and grow from it. Take another look at the story you wrote and see if you can figure out where it could have been improved.
"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning." ~Benjamin Franklin
5. You have only truly failed if you give up. Your writing career is never over until you stop writing, so don't give up!
"Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer." ~Ray Bradbury