The 12-Step Cure for Writer’s Block, Pt. 3: Expect Rejection!

[This is an excerpt from a piece I wrote for The Creative Penn. Click that link to read all 12 steps!]

Remember, rejection letters are made of paper.

It’s easy to get discouraged and lose steam. It’s easy to let the opinions of other people dampen your creative spirit, your confidence, and your work ethic; but remember– rejection letters are made of paper, and paper can be burned. It makes an especially pretty glow at night.

Rejection letters do NOT reflect upon you as a person or on your writing. They simply mean that your submission wasn’t a perfect fit for a particular editor, a particular agent, a particular publisher, a particular issue of a particular magazine, a particular theme or season… a particular particular.

BookBaby’s friend Joan Gelfand recently shared this info with us:

According to Writer’s Relief, the writer’s submission service, the average writer has a 4% acceptance rate. A good writer has a 10% rate and if you’re really lucky 20% and higher.

If we shift gears for a minute and look at the music industry, let’s not forget that The Beatles were turned down by every label they approached, until one day– they weren’t! What would the 1960’s have looked like if those four fellas decided to pack it in and get respectable bank jobs instead? (Nothing against bank jobs, mind you; I actually had one for a while. So did T.S. Eliot!)

If you give up after the first few rejections, then the odds stay against you. The longer you stick with it, the better your odds. Keep trying until you find that perfect fit. Your audience will follow.

And at the end of your life, when you look back on your efforts, you’ll recall the books you DID publish, the poems that WERE accepted by journals and magazines. That stack of rejection letters in the back of the filing cabinet will long be forgotten.

-Chris R. at CD Baby

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