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Ways to Make Rejections Easier on Yourself

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Ah, rejection. It's the bane of the life of a writer and often what leads us to feel miserable about our writing future. However, I have a few techniques I use to make it easier for me to get rejected and move on from it. I hope by sharing it with you, the sting of rejection becomes less painful.

1. Keep tweaking and revising.

After a few handfuls of rejections, I'll usually go back to a story and look it over for any minor (and often major) tweaking that needs to happen. In fact, there have been times I realized I need to pull the story out of the submission process completely for an even bigger overhaul of changes. 

As a result, no matter how minor my changes are, I feel a greater sense of peace when my next rejection comes. I'll look at my submission sheet and realize that I had submitted the story before my latest changes. This enables me to say to myself, "Well, no surprise it got rejected. Those [fill in the blank of my edits] hadn't been made yet."

2. Use RejectionWiki.com to assess your rejection letter.

There's both good and bad to the Rejection Wiki site. If you've never heard of it, it's a collection of rejection letters that people have received from various literary magazines that show you tiers of rejection. A higher tier means you were that much closer to getting accepted, a lower tier means it's a more standard rejection letter that gets sent out. Check it out for yourself if you've recently been rejected.

So, while it helps to read this for any signs I've gotten a personalized rejection, it also reeks of my teenage years when I wanted to assess the nonverbal (or verbal or written) behaviors of some crush of mine to determine if he "liked" me or "like-liked" me. Even so, it can still be helpful to understand the nuances of a rejection.

3. Continue submitting.

I'm a huge fan of simultaneous submissions and often bypass any magazine that demands otherwise. Mostly, because there are so many opportunities out there, why limit my chances to one magazine? Luckily, each time I submit, I feel an even greater chance of getting accepted, especially if it's a new magazine for me.

When a rejection comes and I already have my story re-sent to somewhere new, the sting feels a bit less. I'm able to look ahead and feel hopeful that maybe my newest submission is the right one for my story.

4. Limit how much fees you pay.

I must say it feels downright awful to get an impersonalized rejection when I've paid a fee. However, I do understand not every magazine or contest can actually give me that kind of response. So, with that in mind, I limit how often I pay submission fees. I do appreciate the ones (like WOW!) that allow you to get feedback for a bit more than the original fee, and at times, have taken advantage of that in my submission process.

5. Accept it's part of the process.

I know, I know. It doesn't always help to hear this, but it's a truth: rejection happens to us all. Even the most famous writers (J.K. Rowling, Agatha Christie, Dr. Suess...and more!) faced rejection. In fact, go look up the reviews of any famous novel or novelist, and read some of the 1-star reviews. Why? Because there's plenty of them.

What this tells me is that we're either not where we need to be in our writing or we haven't found our audience yet that "gets" us. So, just know, if you are a writer, you will be rejected. But know, you're alone.

How do you handle rejections? 

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