Why Rejection Helps You Become a Better Writer

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Rejection letters are great.

It means you sent your material out.

It means you’re ready (hopefully) to take your work to the next level.

You see, here’s the thing; what if someone told you that the 37th agent you query would get you a book deal?

You would be so excited every time another rejection letter arrived because you’re one closer to that deal.

That’s why they’re awesome. Keep querying. Just change the way you think about it.

Years ago I worked as a door to door salesperson doing cold calls. We’d go knocking on doors all over the neighbourhood and eventually get in. Sometimes it took ten minutes, sometimes an hour. Once in a while it took all day.

I learned quickly that it was just a matter of knocking on doors before I got in. What I mean is, the more doors I covered, the faster I got in a house to do a presentation and possibly make a sale. So I ran. That’s right, I ran from door to door. It kept me energized and fired up so when I finally got in, I was ready to present and sell.

I outsold my team month after month. The rest of the salespeople got depressed when a door slammed in their face. Not me, I loved it, because I was one closer to the door that would welcome me in.

A man was quite interested in a beautiful house a few blocks from the Chicago airport. Prior to moving in he ascertained the runways weren’t directed over his house so he bought it. A number of years go by. The airport’s getting busier. Planes are getting larger. They need to build more runways.

After a number of months, planes now take off and land directly above his house. Housing values plummet in the area. The man can’t sell. He goes to see a psychiatrist. Doctor tells him to change the way he looks at it. So he goes home and paints, “Welcome to Los Angeles”, on the roof of his house. Almost every time he hears a plane overhead the man laughs.

Change the way you look at it. If your writing is sound, then your only task is to get it out there.

No one can hurt you without your consent – Eleanor Roosevelt

Remember that you are going to query agents that may like the story idea, but don’t love it. You need to keep going until you find one that loves it. Each rejection letter is one step closer to the right match.

People with book deals have no excuses and people with excuses have no book deals. Query, query, query.

Zig Ziglar said that failure is an event, not a person. You may have failed with that rejection letter but you are not a failure. You wrote a novel. The more failure you saw when growing up makes success harder to believe in. But yet you miss out on 100% of all literary agents that you don’t query.

So rejection letters are your confirmation that you’re out there, you’re querying, you’re moving forward. That’s right, moving forward, even when you’re getting a rejection letter.

Things come to those who wait, but only things left by those who hustled -Abraham Lincoln

Besides, what’s the worse that can happen? You’re at the same spot as you are now when someone sends you a rejection letter. Send out multiple submissions. Make sure you send queries to the right people at the right agencies. Just make sure you do it.

Two men were hiking through Northern British Columbia. A bear approached from behind looking ready to attack as it eased ever closer. The one man dropped to the ground and yanked off his backpack. He reached in and retrieved a new pair of running shoes. The other man who was still standing asked,

“What are you doing? Come on let’s go. What do you think, you can outrun a bear?”

“Nope. I just have to outrun you.”

That’s what I’m talking about. Send more queries than the other guy. Don’t focus on the problem. Think prosperous thoughts. Allow prosperity to find you. Get past being stuck. Don’t quit, no matter what. Promise a lot and deliver even more. Be assertive in your actions. Take action. Submit your work. Enjoy rejections because you’re one closer to a book deal.

Enjoy rejections. Change the way you think about them. Read each and every one like it’s an honour badge. Save them all so one day when you’re a famous, published author you can go back and tell people how many you collected until you got the right agent for you. Rejections pile up, and yet, all they are is ammunition for author speeches.

They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them. – Gandhi

Enjoy rejection. Stand tall. Brush off your shoulders and keep moving forward. Remember that you are one rejection letter closer to a deal.

Even Harry Potter got rejections…


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About The Author

Daryl Sedore

Daryl Sedore has written two novels and sold over 40 short stories. He also placed 6th in the 75th Annual Writer's Digest Short Story competition with 4 other stories in the top 60. Daryl blogs about writing and other motivational subjects.

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