Why rejections are important for an artist?

I remember the first time when I sent one of my short stories to a magazine. The excitement was mixed with anxiety. What if they don’t publish my work? Does it mean that I’m a bad writer? Does it mean that I should abandon my dreams of ever publishing anything and look for something else, choose a different path? My grandma always wanted me to become a doctor so maybe that’s what I should do? After a rather long internal monologue I clicked submit. Immediately after I closed my laptop and continued watching videos on my phone.

Then the day when I received an answer to my submission finally came. I got rejected. The story didn’t quite fit the magazine, they were looking for something else entirely. I didn’t understand. I have put so much work into this piece, the thought of it not being good enough to be published was very disappointing. I kept on reading. They said they liked my story, however, even though it was a well written piece it didn’t give the reader the feel they were looking for for the issue. A part of me wanted to stop reading the email – what’s the point in reading it if it’s a simple no from the editing team? Let me tell you!

Every rejection is an opportunity to further improve your work. If a publication says they won’t include your work in their next issue there is always a reason behind it and usually they will tell you why it’s not the best fit for their publication. Rejection is not the end of the world, it’s a suggestion on how to improve and perhaps what to do next time to get that publication! It’s always fairly disappointing when our work gets rejected but hey, do you know how many times Stephen King got rejection letter before he got published? Exactly! It’s not a sign that you are bad at what you’re doing, it’s a sign you still have a room for improvement or that you simply didn’t read the submission guidelines careful enough and your work doesn’t fit the theme of the issue.

What are my tips? Easy:

  1. Always read the guidelines very carefully – they tell you what size/font to use, what genres they accept and what else you need to include in your submission.
  2. Don’t beg to be published – let your work speak for itself.
  3. Never send unfinished work or first drafts – take some time and put effort into the piece you want to get published. It does pay off.
  4. Don’t get discouraged, rejection is nothing else but an invitation to try again.
  5. Keep on trying till you succeed – I have received multiple rejection emails and then one sunny day I got an email from Vice inviting me to write for them! Whatever you do – never give up.
  6. Observe publications you like, read what they publish, see what they are all about and only then submit your work. If you don’t know a publication, how can you be sure what you send is the right material for them?
  7. Keep on creating!

I hope I helped you a bit and made you realize that rejections are only part of creation. Keep on creating! – Monyca

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