Pitfalls

Reflect on rejection: There is a reason for it

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It’s brutal, isn’t it? Getting those rejection letters in the mail? You know, especially the ones that contain barely a scratch of ink in response to your precious labor of love. The bad news is you have to find a way to recover from the shame and sadness. Maybe anger.

rejection

Flickr: Tommy Wong

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But the good news about rejection is you have an opportunity to reflect on just what happened.

In fact, if you don’t reflect on why you were rejected, you are missing out on a vital component of the writing process.

Our growth and success as writers depends on our ability to step outside of ourselves and look at our work objectively.

Read: Avoid these 6 bad writing habits

So, what are some reasons that your work was rejected?

You may have missed the mark. Your characters may be stale or uninteresting. Your plot meanders. Your use of language may too sophisticated or sophomoric. Ask yourself if you have done enough to fully develop the narrative. Have you really presented an authentic portrait of your characters? Did you do enough to keep the story driving and striving forward?

Read: Coping with writing criticism

The manuscript was a mess. Perhaps you didn’t dot your i’s or cross your t’s. Maybe you failed to catch typos and grammatical errors. Or worse, you boxed up the copy in aromatic lavender and littered the page with pink ink. Gimmicks don’t work. Have you simply allowed your story to sing on its own without help or harm from you?

Read: Seeing red: Make proofreading pleasant

You aimed for the wrong target. Not all agents or edits embrace steamy romances. Others have had their fill of self-help manuals. Have you done your research? Did you make sure that you sent your work to the right person with an interest in just your style or niche of story writing?

There is no one out there. It’s possible that the editor feels there isn’t an audience for your story. Have you written something that only an obscure sect of readers would appreciate? Perhaps it is a subject matter that wouldn’t translate well onto a larger scale. What can you do to see that it does?

By opening your mind in this way, you will bring yourself closer to writing success. Are you reflecting enough on your rejection?

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at EducatedWriter.com and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at kerrismabee.com.

Kerri S. Mabee

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