Snowstorm of Rejections

All authors face rejection at some point in their writing careers. Some of us throw in the towel and are content with publishing blogs, but the greats always seem to persevere. Here are some suggestions from writers who knew how to deal with rejection:

[S]tarting when I was fifteen I began to send short stories to magazines like Esquire, and they, very promptly, sent them back two days before they got them! I have several walls in several rooms of my house covered with the snowstorm of rejections, but they didn’t realize what a strong person I was; I persevered and wrote a thousand more dreadful short stories, which were rejected in turn. Then, during the late forties, I actually began to sell short stories and accomplished some sort of deliverance from snowstorms in my fourth decade. But even today, my latest books of short stories contain at least seven stories that were rejected by every magazine in the United States and also in Sweden! So, dear Snoopy, take heart from this. The blizzard doesn’t last forever; it just seems so.

–Ray Bradbury, in Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life

When I was older, I decided that getting a rejection slip was like being told your child was ugly. You got mad and didn’t believe a word of it. Besides, look at all the really ugly literary children out there in the world being published and doing fine!

–Octavia Bulter, in “Positive Obsession”

Winning or losing an argument, receiving an acceptance or rejection, is no proof of the validity or value of personal identity. One may be wrong, mistaken, or a poor craftsman, or just ignorant—but this is no indication of the true worth of one’s total human identity: past, present & future!

–Sylvia Plath, in The Unabridged Journals, 1956

I think being rejected can be very beneficial, especially if the work really isn’t good. If it gets published, you are almost certain to find yourself looking back with great embarrassment!

–Stephen King, as told to The New York Times in 1985

You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success—but only if you persist.

–Isaac Asimov


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