R is for Rejection and Other Paths to Success

Hey guys! We're sorry, but we are not able to accept your submission at this time... Hands up if you've ever seen that phrase before!

What, only me? Oh. Never mind then. *awkwardly slinks off into a corner*

I'm kidding. ;) I think every single writer out there has felt the sinking dread of reading those words - or, if they haven't, then they will sometime soon. It may or may not be the most dreaded phrase in every writer's existence (except for "writer's block," of course). Rejected. Cut off. Face it: you weren't good enough to please them. Time to go crawl into bed and eat chocolate ice cream and sob over really old romance films and never write again.

Or not.

One thing I've found it really, really hard to learn: rejection is not actually the end of the world. And yes, you did read that right. Now, don't get me wrong - yeah, it sucks. Yeah, you're probably going to be down in the dumps about it.

But that doesn't mean you stop writing. It doesn't mean you give up on yourself and decide to become an accountant because you have zero talent whatsoever and you'll never be able to please anybody. Whether you're submitting your work to a literary magazine, or to an anthology, or to a publishing house - whatever it is, you have to remember that this is one person's opinion of your work. (Sometimes more than that, but you know, around the vicinity of one person.) So basically, that means there's about 7 billion other people in the world who could potentially fall in love with your writing. Are you seriously going to let one person set you off the path of your dream?

I didn't think so.

I'm going to tell you right now that you are going to be rejected one of these days - if you haven't been already. It's part of life. Heck, Stephen King was rejected. C.S. Lewis was rejected. Dan Brown was rejected. Beatrix Potter was rejected. Own it. Be proud of it. You're among the greats, and one of these days you're going to join the ranks of the legends!

So here's what you do: you let yourself be rejected. You remind yourself that it's okay to fail sometimes, and that doesn't mean you're a terrible person - or a terrible writer. You take half an hour to stew and kick stuff around and punch pillows and consider sending a furious email insisting that there must be some mistake. (Don't actually do it, though. That could be awkward.)

And then guess what you do?

That's right: you sit down at your computer, and you write some more.

love, Topaz