Translating our ideas unto paper is no easy task. For most of us, writing is an effort and a practice that we are constantly developing. It is an act of opening up oneself to the world. So when we send our work off in hopes of getting published, it is no surprise that any kind of rejection feels like throwing salt on a fresh wound. Indeed, writing makes us vulnerable. But rejection shouldn’t stop us from writing. Rejection can and should be turned into an opportunity. Rejection is not a stop sign, it is a pause along the road. Rejection allows us to revisit our craft and to improve it. It also teaches us that persistance is a skill. And this skill comes in handy most when we continue to persist that our writing – our voice – has a place in the world.
Recently, Cheryl Strayed shared on her Facebook page:
“Going through a drawer I found the submissions/applications log I’ve kept off and on over the years. Just in case you think it’s all been roses I’d like to report that Yaddo rejected me (as recently as 2011). McDowell rejected me. Hedgebrook rejected me twice. The Georgia Review rejected me and Ploughshares rejected me and Tin House rejected me, as did about twenty other journals and magazines. Both The Sun and The Missouri Review rejected me before I appeared in their pages. Literary Arts declined to give me a fellowship three times before I won one. I’ve applied for an NEA five times and it’s always been a no. Harper’s magazine never even bothered to reply. I say it all the time but I’ll say it again: keep on writing. Never give up. Rejection is part of a writer’s life. Then, now, always.”