How to Handle Rejection



by Tonya R. Moore


Rejection bites. That’s the plain and simple truth.

You pour your heart into a story and revise the heck out of it. Then you submit/query and repeat until hopefully, someone finally thinks that you have something worth publishing.

Unless you’re some sort of literary genius whose work always gets accepted on the very first submission, it can become quite a discouraging process.

Rejections are a blow to the ego. They make us question whether we possess talent or not. Whether we should keep trying or not.

It takes persistence and gumption to achieve any meaningful goal. Gaining some measure of success as a writer is no different.

Sometimes, we have to change our way of thinking about things to see past them.


Here are 3 things to remember the next time you get a rejection email or letter:

  1. This doesn’t define you.

When our work is rejected, creatives often feel as if we’re the ones being rejected. When you pour so much of yourself into what you do, it’s only natural to think that way.

If you stop and think about it though, you realize that this isn’t true. The person evaluating your work isn’t thinking about you at all. They’re thinking about the piece of work before them and whether or not it suits their purposes.

Sometimes yours will. Sometimes it won’t.


  1. This Doesn’t Define Your Work

A rejection response send one simple message: Do Not Want.

Unfortunately, this message feeds into our fear of failure and rejection, so what we think we’re being told is: Not Good Enough.

What if instead of “not good enough” we thought “maybe next time?”

The tiniest shift of perspective  can make the difference between quitting and persisting.


  1. You Can Learn From This

Have you ever gotten a response from an editor that included notes about part of your story that either stood out or failed to grab them?

This is probably the most useful kind of feedback you can get.

I recently got such a thoughtful response from an editor who rejected one of my stories and I was immensely grateful for the time and effort that person took share his thoughts on my work.

Not only did I understand immediately why my story just wasn’t right for that particular publication, I learned a few things that will help me as I continue to write new stories.


Here’s one final thing to remember:

Rejection is nothing in the face of a human being’s ability to persevere and progress. It’s just a stepping stone that guides us along our way.




Guest post contributed by Tonya R. Moore. Tonya is a Jamaican born, science fiction, horror, and urban fantasy writer from Bradenton, Florida. 

20 thoughts on “How to Handle Rejection

  1. I’m only 24 hours into my pity party for a recent rejection of a novel completed last year. It makes rejection # 35. I remind myself constantly that Kathryn Stockard got 84 rejection before “The Help” was picked up!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on A Writing Life and commented:
    I have a fine collection of rejections. I consider them a sign of accomplishment: I have written, I have made the effort to submit, I have learned. Some of my rejection are heartbreakingly encouraging, eg “”such a fine book should first be published as a hardback. Then we could obtain paperback rights.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cannot tell you how often I’ve woken up on a morning to a rejection letter (the lit mags/ presses I submit to are usually in a different time zone) from a press I was really invested in, and then suffered from a week-long depression about it. Writing is hard… People who aren’t writers severely underestimate how hard it is.

    Thanks for this post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sadly rejections are a regular part of our lives; over job applications, excluded from participating in tasks at work, and of course the classic. ‘Not tonight dear, I have a headache.’
    So, this means everyone experiences rejection in one form or another throughout their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You definitely have to have persistence and gumption, as you say, to keep on slugging. Even then, not everyone is going to like your work, editors notwithstanding. Take whatever constructive information from the readers and editorial community that you can, shake it off and keep on keeping on.

    Great post, Tonya.


  6. Good advice.
    Last month, I got another 2 rejections on a manuscript that I love and thought “That’s it. I’m done. There’s no reason to keep doing this to myself.” Then a week later, I had an epiphany on the second book in the series and been scribbling (or Scrivener-ing) away ever since. Hopefully, I’ll get a positive reaction pitching both books. Because I found even though I hate publishing…I can’t stop myself from writing.


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