I have a funny relationship with rejection letters.
I’ve gathered quite a few rejections over the last 12 months. Of course, in talking to some other writers on a writer’s message board I visit, I know that my collection of letters is paltry. More experienced authors talk about getting hundreds in a single year. Still, I’m rapidly filling up the small bulletin board in my office where I pin each of my rejection letters. Yes, I took Stephen King’s advice in On Writing seriously.
Each rejection is, to me, a piece of encouragement. Every “Dear Author, Thank you for your submission, but we are going to have to pass this time” spurs me to keep trying harder.
Of course, I don’t glorify the rejection letter. I don’t send out pieces that I know are bad just to receive a response as a form of attention seeking. With every piece, I try my very best to write my very best work and with each piece I hope with all my heart that this will be the one.
That said, I don’t let rejections crush my soul. A rejection letter doesn’t mean the publication is rejecting me as a writer or me as a person. A rejection letter doesn’t mean I suck. It doesn’t mean my ideas are garbage. A rejection letter means that either the piece just wasn’t right for the market (different editors have different tastes just like all people do) or it means that the piece just isn’t quite ready to be published yet. Mostly, to me, a rejection is a reminder that I still have a lot of growing to do as a writer.