Lesson 7

Dear Writer,

How do you cope with rejection?

Before you call yourself a writer, you must brace yourself because you’re going to have to deal with a lot of rejection. In this career path, rejection for us is like a bee to a honeycomb. It’s a bane that comes with the job -some rejections will come softly, and some will be downright mean and brutal. Rejection will come from all angles; readers, publishers and most especially prospective clients. 

As a writer, you would have to get used to hearing words like,

“I’m afraid your entry didn’t make the cut.”

“Your articles are not suitable for our audience.” 

“You need to work on your writing style.”

“You’re not what we are looking for in a writer.”

You'll have a panic attack when you get your first rejection letter, your eyes will well up with tears, and you'll have a hard time picking up the broken pieces of your heart. 

It happens to every one of us at different points of our writing journey. It’s part of the package deal of being a writer. 

In fact, it is our way of life. Some say it’s a very important part of the creative process, but nothing really prepares us for the painful sting that comes with that two-letter word "No!”

I remember my first rejection as a writer. 

It felt like someone had dealt me a hard blow and I was left gasping for air. I had just started posting some of my stories on Facebook and readers wouldn’t stop flooding my timeline with applauds and encomiums. 

With that confidence boost, I decided to explore my options and build my portfolio. 

I wrote emails to some blogs pitching my articles with the hope of getting a guest blogging slot. Weeks later, I received a rude shock. Virtually all my emails bounced back to me each bearing a rejection note.

It was a depressing experience. 

For days, I couldn’t bring myself to write on Facebook like I always had. Maybe I lost the will to write, maybe it was the infamous writers’ block or maybe it was the side-effect of the despair I felt at the time. As hard as I tried, my ink wouldn’t flow.   

After much struggle, I found my creative voice again, but that was not the end of my ordeal. When it seems like I'm back on my feet again Jab! Another rejection sticks. 

I would crouch in a corner for days swearing never to write again in my life. 

I remember a particular time I was steadily getting rejections from organizations I had sent applications. Some of the rejection letters came months after I had even forgotten about the application. The notifications in my mailbox usually read something like,

“Thank you for your interest in the content writer position at XYZ. Unfortunately, we will not be moving forward with your application”

Lessons learned

Years down the line, and I’m still learning how to cope with the painful pangs of rejection. 

  1. I’ve learned not to beat myself up too hard.
  2.  I’ve learned to take rejection in strides.
  3.  I’ve learned that rejection is nothing to be ashamed of.
  4. I've learned to keep going even when every response is no.
  5. And I’ve learned to always look at the brighter side.

I use every rejection as an excuse to write something better. I see it as a stepping stone and not a roadblock. This has helped me build resilience over the years.

Rejection isn’t a reflection on you as a person or your value as a writer. It is simply their opinion which may not be valid. 

Treat every rejection as a learning experience. 

That’s the only way you can grow as a writer. 

When next you get that awful "We regret to inform you..." note, take a deep breath, read the feedback a second time, identify your flaws, work on them, and scream “NEXT!”

What was the most painful rejection you have ever gotten as a writer? Share it with me on toby@millionairewriters.com

To your continued success…

Toby Nwazor,

Founder, Millionaire Writers