Three Things for Rejected Writers

Listen to the Writer’s Market Podcast series. Each free episode includes a “Three Things” segment focused on helping writers find success with their writing. This one looks at three things for rejected writers.

(Click here to check out the podcast episode that includes these three things.)


First, rejection happens to everyone. Here’s a quick list of names:

  • Agatha Christie
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Stephen King
  • Jack Kerouac
  • Beatrix Potter
  • Joseph Heller
  • William Faulkner

What do they all have in common? They were all rejected multiple times before finding major success. But the list doesn’t stop there. Let’s throw in John Grisham, Jack London, C.S. Lewis, Stephenie Meyer, Alice Walker, Richard Adams, Nicholas Sparks, and thousands (if not millions) of other writers. Rejection happens…

…to everyone.


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Second, rejection is not personal. Rejection can be subjective, but it’s rarely ever personal. As an editor myself, I’m not looking to reject submissions or writers as much as I’m looking for what gets me excited to publish, whether it’s a nonfiction article for the Market Books or a poem for my Poetic Asides column.

Editors often take their responsibilities personal, but not rejection. So treat rejection as something that just happens and move on to the next submission.


Third, rejection doesn’t define you (or your project). Remember that list of famous rejected writers? They could’ve given up after that first rejection, or after that fifth rejection, or after that tenth rejection—but they didn’t. They kept pushing toward their goals as writers, and they kept chasing their dreams—often with the same manuscript.

That said, use rejections as opportunities to revise your manuscripts or pitches. Always be as honest and objective with your writing as possible and continue to push the envelope. Rejection does happen to everyone, but it only takes that one acceptance to propel your career forward.

Until next time, keep writing and marketing what you write.


robert-lee-brewer-featuredRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He edits the Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market books, writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, maintains the Poetic Asides blog, co-hosts a podcast for writers with Brian A. Klems, speaks at conferences, leads online webinars and tutorials, and so much more.

Robert is also the author of Solving the World’s Problems, a poetry collection published by Press 53. A former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, he’s been a featured poet across the country at poetry events in Austin, Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta, and more.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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