The Positive Side Of Rejection

As the saying (and the Kelly Clarkson song) goes, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Life is full of challenges, ups and downs, and problems that sometimes seem insurmountable. Sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, because the tunnel seems so long and dark. But these challenges, we like to believe, can also teach us important lessons about ourselves and the things we are capable of. In short, they can make us stronger.

And what’s true for life is also true for writing. A writer’s life is often full of challenges. Nearly every writer, at one time or another, will face rejection. For some writers, rejections arrive thick and fast, and every negative response comes hand-in-hand with frustration or a feeling that success may never be achieved. But what can be learned from these rejections? How can these negative, difficult experiences be turned into positive ones?

The first thing to remember is that there are many reasons why a writer’s work might be rejected. Sometimes it’s not about the work itself. Sometimes it’s about the timing, the market, or the personal preferences of the person sending the rejection (as it’s been said many times before, publishing is an extremely subjective business). A rejection might include an explanation as to why the work has been turned down, and the more specific this explanation, the better. Where the rejection includes detailed feedback about the work, the writer has a great opportunity to look at their work from another’s point of view and perhaps pick up on any strengths and weaknesses they might not have noticed themselves. That doesn’t mean the writer has to make every change suggested (for a writer should be guided by their own sense of what is right and wrong for their work), but it does give the writer a chance to strengthen their work or build on their skills, so that next time (either for the writer’s current project or for a future piece of work), rejection turns into acceptance.

Setbacks and problems of any kind are frustrating, but the next time you receive a rejection letter, bear in mind that negative situations can eventually lead to positive outcomes!

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