• Fighting Rejection

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in WBN News & Events     Comments 4 comments

    Rejection. It comes with the territory if you want to be a writer. When I first started out, I knew this, but thought that my extremely motivated and passionate spirit would make me immune to the sting of the almighty “No thanks.”

    I was wrong, obviously. When I received my first rejection email, I mourned by hiding under my covers for a spell, then I ate chocolate and got over it. But how many rejections should you get before you decided to call it quits? The answer: one million. You can’t give up, ever. If you give up, you have a 99% guarantee you are going to fail. (The missing 1% leaves room open for the haphazard chance that you would run into your perfect literary agent in a coffee shop, hit it off, and they would sign you that very afternoon.)

    If you want to make it as a writer, you just have to keep going, no matter what is thrown in your face. Just be smart, and if you are getting a consistent response from agents, like “Your first page sucks,” then maybe think about revising. Take their critique to heart, and keep trucking forward.

    My favorite quote from Anne Lamott is this: “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”  We just never know what will come in the morning–that next query letter you send could be the one that scores you an agent, then a publishing deal, then a large sum of money, then the blissful satisfaction of seeing your book on a store shelf,  then a book tour, then who knows. Sigh. I want that.

    I was recently reminded about rejection and how we can’t let it get the best of us when I saw this article about the writer of The Help. I read The Help and saw the movie–both were amazing and I would highly recommend them. The author, Kathryn Stockett, had quite the journey toward publication. After a year and half of pitching to agents and receiving 40 rejections, she began lying to her friends and family about continuing to work on her book. She went as far as telling her husband she was going away for a girls weekend, when in actuality she rented a hotel room to work on her writing. This I find hilarious.

    Eventually, her rejection total hit 60. Then, query letter 61 was different–an agent agreed to sign her, and the rest is history. Her book is loved by millions and the movie is equally as touching. What would have happened if she gave up at letter 60?

    So, dear writers, keep going, and I will do the same. Life can be crappy and boring, so why not go for your dream? What is the alternative, spending your evening watching Dancing With The Stars? No thanks! Keep working, keep writing, and one day you will get to where you are supposed to be.


    Katie’s work has been featured in Austin Lifestyle Magazine, Redbook Magazine, Thrillist.com, and Homerun.com. She is also excited to be contributing to the new Austin publication BE Mag, launching its first issue this November. Prior to moving to Austin, Katie worked as an associate producer for an NBC affiliate in South Florida.

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    Jose Skinner

    “Keep working, keep writing, and one day you will get to where you are supposed to be.” Where real writers want to be is writing: there is nothing in this article that even hints at this autotelic satisfaction. The majority of writers are going to be sorely disappointed if all they’re gunning for is “a publishing deal, then a large sum of money, then the blissful satisfaction of seeing [their] book on a store shelf, then a book tour, then who knows.” If a writer doesn’t like writing for writing’s sake, if her main desire in being a writer doesn’t… Read more »

    David Duhr

    Wow, way to slip “autotelic” into a blog post comment. It’s no wonder we get along so well, Jose. But even those who do get that satisfaction are often looking ahead to publication. Katie does plenty of writing for the sheer pleasure of the act, and has covered some of that ground for us here before. This is just a take on a semi-related subject.


    Thanks for the comment Jose! I agree with you – if a writer doesn’t like writing for writing’s sake, guaranteed they will end up disappointed, frustrated, and no able to create great work. The publishing industry is a terrible beast to tackle, and I think anyone who does take it on HAS to be head over heals in love with the art of writing, because there would be no other logical reason to enter into such difficult field. “Keep working, keep writing, and one day you will get to where you are supposed to be.” Maybe where you are supposed… Read more »

    […] is my plan of action. Do everything I can to get published traditionally (the author of The Help got around 60 rejections from agents, just to give you a glimpse of my standards). Then, if I am ready to take action into […]

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