One Writer's Take on Rejection



For writers, rejection is the toughest obstacle to overcome. 

Forget writer's block, it's not even a close second to the big "R". I know many authors and can't think of one who ever thought about quitting because he or she couldn't get the words out. 

Rejection is a far worse evil than the writing muse checking out and taking all the good story ideas with her. She always comes back, with both hands full of inspiration. However, stacks of rejection letters stifle writers and sometimes end careers prematurely.

During a writer's workshop that Jaimie Engle and I taught earlier this week, I noticed that fear of rejection was a big concern. When artists hold back, their work suffers and their careers lay dormant, sometimes for years. 

Sometimes, a writer thinks a story is a good fit and an editor doesn’t agree. It’s not personal, it’s just business. Stories are rejected for many different reasons: a similar story may have been picked up, the editor may hate the topic matter for personal reasons, or the publication may be moving in a different direction. None of that has any bearing on a writer's talent.

When an editor rejects a story, that’s all he or she rejected. I’ve never received a rejection letter that in addition to declining my story also stated that I’m an awful writer, lousy cook, and unappealing to look at in broad daylight.

Writers often struggle with rejection because they are so close to their work. So much of a writer is devoted to his or her stories that attachments run deep and close to the heart. A distance must be developed to make rejections easier to endure, but only on the business side of things. Writers should strive to be distant from their material when submitting, not when creating. 

Rejections are a necessary evil for writers, but often they are internalized as more of a valuation of self worth. To overcome this, writers should reframe their perspectives on rejections and limit their scope to the business level. The story was rejected for a reason, but that reason has little bearing on anything outside of its realm, if any at all. 

The key to dealing with rejection is being resilient enough to persevere through it. Writing partners, family, and friends are never ending sources of inspiration. Their encouragement can help writers build resilience and keep them plugging away during all the painful edits and frustrating rejections. When writers feel overwhelmed, they should reach out to friends and family for pick-me-ups. That's what they are there for.

Sometimes all a writer needs is for someone to tell her that her writing is good enough, or that the dishes can wait.

If nothing else, rejection ends the painful process of waiting to hear back from a publication about a story's fate. It's better to know than wait and wonder, and then wait and wonder some more. It also helps to remember that each rejection is a step closer to acceptance.

Repeated rejection in many other forms of social interaction leads to retrospection and sometimes a change of course. Successful writers stay the course in the midst of rejections and reframe their perspectives. They improve upon their craft and keep writing, even when it doesn't make sense to or they don't really feel like putting pen to paper. And they never let rejections define their value or talent, because they know "this is not right for us at this time" means simply that and nothing more.

Christine Edwards Shares New Articles on Medium

I've recently started posting new journalistic articles on Medium. My goal for this venture is to provide readers with just enough information to be dangerous in casual conversations. 

Perhaps you always wanted to know about something, but felt it was too trivial to research. These are the types of stories I'll be posting regularly. You know, the things you wonder about as your driving to work, but forget about as soon as you enter your office. When you get in your car to go home, the nagging curiosity resurfaces. Trust me, I get it. 

In fact, I intend to find the answers to such questions and share them with readers in compelling three to five minute reads on Medium. My first post shares a glimpse into the lives of veterans and their families. My second story explores similarities and differences between media portrayals of Ebola and other deadly viruses.  

Perhaps one day, the topics you read about on Medium will surface in casual conversation and make you the envy of your less informed peers. Or maybe they will merely made your commute to work more enjoyable. Both situations sound like wins to me.

Be sure to check out my stories on Medium and let me know what you think about them. Thanks in advance.


christine Edward's

Jaimie Engle and Christine Edwards Offer Second Session of Revise and Submit Seminar on December 16, 2014 at the Orlando Public Library

Jaimie Engle and I are excited to be holding the second session of the Revise and Submit Seminar on December 16, 2014 at the Orlando Public Library. 

In the last session, Jaimie shared her best editing tips with authors of both fiction and nonfiction. In session two, Jaimie will coach writers through the querying process from penning a query letter to signing an agent agreement. 

I'm honored to teach alongside Jaimie and share my favorite social media and querying resources with motivated writers. Many would be surprised at how easy it is to connect with publishing professionals, readers, and fellow writers via social media sites. Platform creation and maintenance may appear daunting, but I'll show attendees how simple the whole process can be. Finally, I'll be sharing some of my favorite online resources for finding agents and publishers to query, and the free or low cost online resources I use to keep my queries organized. 

If you are in the area on Tuesday and would like to learn more about editing and submitting your manuscript, join us. We'd love to help you along your path to publication.


Info you need to know:

When: December 16, 2014
Where: Albertson Room of the Orlando Public Library
           101 E. Central St. Downtown Orlando, Florida
When: 6:30 p.m. (7-ish for you late by nature types)

If you aren't able to join us at the seminar, check out Jaimie M. Engle's website: A Writer For Life where she shares some of her best editing tips.

You can also learn more about the seminar and how local authors like Jaimie M. Engle impact our community by following Florida Book News.

Jaimie M. Engle Offers Editing Advice at Orlando Public Library Revise and Submit Seminar

So you finished writing the first draft of your book. Congrats! A fraction of the population ever seriously attempts to write a book and an even tinier fraction of those who start writing a book finish their rough drafts. Kudos to you for being so freaking awesome! 

When the champagne is gone, and your exhilaration wanes, you may wonder what the next step is in becoming a published author. Surely there is a step between finishing a rough draft and picking out cover art, but this is your first novel and you're not really sure what that step may be. 

Relax, I've got you covered. The answer is revision. Quite honestly, this step is what makes or breaks a book. A poorly revised manuscript is essentially doomed because literary agents will not take it seriously. 

If you choose not to follow the traditional publishing route and self-publish, reader reviews will become incredibly important. Poorly revised books often get reviews that lament typos and plot holes. I don't like to read books with such issues and have yet to meet a reader who did.

It's okay if your first draft is a hot mess. It's supposed to be. However, the draft you send out to agents or self-publish should be a polished, structurally sound manuscript. Getting from hot mess to pristine prose takes editing, and quite often a second pair of eyes that aren't as familiar with the story.

If you would like to learn more about how to revise your novel or would like some information about hiring outside editors to help you clean up your first draft, come out to the Revise and Submit Seminar in Downtown Orlando tomorrow night. Be sure to say hi to my writing partner, Jaimie M. Engle. She will be teaching editing strategies she developed to help her complete her writing projects, to include one currently being shopped to the Big 5 by her agent.

Revision doesn't have to be scary or tedious, but it will be if you let it. Don't let all of your hard work go to waste. Come out and learn some strategies to help you get one step closer to completing your first book.

Info you need to know:

When: December 2, 2014
Where: Albertson Room of the Orlando Public Library
           101 E. Central St. Downtown Orlando, Florida
When: 6:30 p.m. (7-ish for you late by nature types)

If you aren't able to join us at the seminar, check out Jaimie M. Engle's website: A Writer For Life where she shares some of her best editing tips.

You can also learn more about the seminar and how local authors like Jaimie M. Engle impact our community by following Florida Book News.

Happy editing,

C