Monday, September 12, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Rally after Rejection

I got my first rejection being ripped apart by a contest judge for reasons that were probably deserved.

I hadn't done any real editing of that first work and entered it into a contest anyway.  I was still a bit in lala land where I thought all I had to do was write and then just be celebrated.  After that bloody judgement, I considered giving up this writing thing for good.

Instead, I took a break...and returned.

When I returned, I did a bit better.  The story was a for a different genre and age group but it was certainly an improvement.  I self-pubbed it but didn't give it the fine-tooth edit or real marketing I should have since I aimed more to make it available for friends and family to get...if they wanted.

Also because I felt my writing heart had a different direction.

So here I am now, writing YA fantasy/sci-fi.  The first story I queried, I did so after some decent self-editing.  I got the usual form rejections, but I also got one rejection from an agent who sent it on a special stationary.  Maybe because she was young...or maybe because she wanted me to see beyond the rejection.  Between the blah, blah, blah of not for me at this time, she mentioned the good points that I could focus on so that I could work on making the story more appealing. I lost that rejection in the shuffle of moving, but it reminded me of the importance of rallying after rejection.

Guess what book this cast portrays:
If you guessed THE HELP, you guessed right.  Had Kathryn Stockett decided that a few rejections was reason enough to give up on a story, there would be no movie at this time.  Not that she didn't get a little down - I mean seriously, getting rejected 20 or 30 times can be pretty daunting to deal with.  But she kept going, even to the tune of 60 rejections.  She could have stayed down or chosen to let go of her dream.  But she rallied after rejection and can claim her success.

This is not to say that you have to beat your head up against a rock until it or your skull split.  Sometimes it's good to let a story marinate so that you can come back with a fresher mind and maybe even better ideas.  Stick with your dreams, learn what you can and don't let the naysayers bog you down.  Know that you can Rally after Rejection.

29 comments:

Christine Fonseca said...

Yep, persistence is definitely the key, yes?

E. Arroyo said...

I love these stories. Hearing them inspires. Thanks!

julie fedderson said...

I always think to Stephen King's quote about what separates the talented from the successful is a lot of hard work. Persistence is necessary to succeed.

Cynthia Lee said...

I remember my first rejection very well. I was considerably bummed out about it. Now I look back at my bummed-outedness and laugh.

I've gotten so many query rejections (and a few ms rejections) since then that it really doesn't bum me out that badly anymore.

E.R. King said...

This is so true! Good for you for coming back and writing. That takes a lot of strength!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Amen! I'm glad you're still at it! :)

LD Masterson said...

Yup. You said it.

Cate Masters said...

I forget the exact words, but there's a saying to the effect that success is a small percentage of talent and a large percentage of persistence. Rejections can be tough, but I'm glad one took the time to add encouragement. That means your story has great potential. Seize on that, and work it to your advantage.

Charlotte said...

The Help got rejected 60 times?? Firstly, what is wrong with the world? And secondly, that makes me feel so much better! Thanks for sharing- very insightful post.

Anonymous said...

You said it...and quite eloquently too :)

Angela Brown said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Persistence is crucial to success. Giving up can seem sort of easy when you stumble upon a pothole or a speedbump in the road. Life can have so many distractions for being such a small word, but persevering is the key to reaching the finish line and success as each of us see it.

Candy Fite said...

Angelina C. Hansen put it perfectly. Rejections can be paralyzing. But, as writers, we've got to keep at it!

Angela Brown said...

Candy, Angelina has the truth of it right there.

Giles Hash said...

I went to a panel over the weekend with an author who got over 1000 rejections before she finally got published. Now THAT'S determination!

Angela Brown said...

OMG!!!! 1000 rejections!!!???!!! I probably would have stopped counting after the first couple of hundred. I just hope I have that kind of perseverance and stick-to-it-tiveness.

That IS some serious determination.

Maria Zannini said...

There's a learning tool inside every rejection.

It's important to remember too that all writing is subjective. Every reader walks away with a different take.

I'm proud of you for not giving up.

Alleged Author said...

Love of writing always helps us to rally after rejection! Ah, the first time we write we think it's gold. Then the real world sets in. I think we've all had that! Thank you for sharing, chica! :)

Angela Brown said...

Thanks Maria. I sometimes wonder if I could have stayed away. When I think of how deeply I love writing, as Alleged Author commented, I just couldn't do it. I had to get back int he writing game.

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

I’m realizing more and more that the path I've chosen is one of the toughest ones - a writer. If it was only about writing and having someone else edit, correct, maybe even re-write a bit, then market it etc etc. But no—nowadays the writer has to do it all. And the process needs to start with a great manuscript. The competition is stiff enough to just quit after only a few rejections. Your post is what many of us need—an inspiration and a reminder to never give up easily. Thank you, Angela!

Angela Brown said...

I'm happy to do it, Angela. I've often found that in encouraging others, I'm encouraging myself - like a great two-for-one deal :-)

Anonymous said...

I remember feeling shock, numbness, and sadness at my first few rejections, but I knew what I wanted and kept at it.

Have a great week.

Angela Brown said...

Being rejected is not a good feeling. But it's something that comes with the territory. Even if a writer doesn't query and goes the self-publish route, they still risk rejection by the reader, which is the rejection we hope to avoid most of all.

Anonymous said...

So true. Rejection is part of the game. Sometimes, it can actually be helpful. Sometimes. :)

Angelina Rain said...

I'm glad you didn't give up. You have to keep going after rejections. One publishers/agent may hate your work and the next one may love it. I recently had an author tell me that she had 200 rejections before she got her yes. Funny, because her books sell really well.

Angela Brown said...

Rebecca...I have to agree. It's interesting that on the rare occassion, it's the No that leads you to the Yes that is better for you. And Angelina, I'm hard pressed to understand how the author you mentioned could get rejected so often then sell so well. Just boggles my mind. But I think another great commentor mentioned that opinions vary. I guess that's the way the ball bounces.

K said...

It amazes me when I look back at manuscripts I submitted (and got rejected) 4+ years ago, and I wonder 'why did I ever submit that, it wasn't ready,' but then if I didn't submit it and didn't get rejected, maybe my abilities as a writer would not have come as far as they have today. I think the physical act of submitting a piece of writing puts us out there and makes us work even harder to get better at the craft of writing!

Angela Brown said...

K, you took the words right out of my mouth. Very good point.

jonyangorg said...

Awesome post. I was reading something about how since you can't control rejections, it's more important to concentrate on other things that are within a writer's control. Like output, and effort, and improvement. I've been thinking about that and think it's an interesting way to think about things.
http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2011/08/25/writers-and-pellets/

Angela Brown said...

Jon, that's an aspect I think we could be reminded of more often. Sometimes, you just feel like you're dangling, alone and with no control. But when you remember that you can control some things, that can be helpful.

Post a Comment

Talk to me :-)
Comments are welcome.