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Handling Rejection: A Writer’s Guide to Dealing With Feedback, Criticism, and Setbacks

Handling Rejection

As a writer, you’ve probably experienced the thrill of creating a piece of work that you’re proud of. You’ve poured your heart and soul into it, polished every word, and hit the “submit” button with a sense of anticipation. But then, the dreaded email arrives: “Thank you for your submission, but unfortunately, it’s not a fit for us at this time.” Rejection. Ouch. It’s inevitable, but it still stings—so let’s talk about how to handle rejection like a pro.

Don’t Take it Personally

Rejection can feel like a punch in the gut, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a reflection of your worth as a writer. Just because one person or publication didn’t accept your work doesn’t mean it’s not good. Writing is subjective, and what one editor or reader may not like, another might love. So, instead of wallowing in self-pity or doubting your talent, try to see it as an opportunity to improve and keep moving forward.

Embrace Feedback

Feedback is a crucial part of the writing process. It helps you identify strengths and weaknesses in your work, and it’s a chance to learn and grow as a writer. Though receiving feedback can sometimes feel like a dagger to the heart, especially if it’s not all glowing praise, remember: feedback is not an attack on your abilities; it’s simply an opinion or perspective from someone else. Take a deep breath, put your ego aside, and embrace feedback as a valuable tool for improvement.

Keep Your Sense of Perspective

Rejection and criticism can sometimes feel like the end of the world, but it’s important to keep your sense of perspective. Remember that every successful writer has faced rejection at some point in their career. Even the literary giants like J.K. Rowling and Stephen King were rejected numerous times before they achieved success. So, don’t let rejection define you or your worth as a writer. Keep things in perspective and remember that setbacks are just temporary bumps on the road to success.

Learn and Improve

As much as rejection hurts, setbacks are opportunities to learn and improve. Take the feedback you’ve received, analyze it objectively, and use it to make your writing better. Maybe you need to work on your pacing or tighten up your dialogue. Perhaps you need to do more research or revise your characters. Whatever it is, use the setback as a chance to level up your writing skills and come back even stronger.

Keep Going

When you’re feeling discouraged and rejected, it’s tempting to throw in the towel and give up on your writing dreams. But quitting is not an option if you’re passionate about writing. Rejection and setbacks are a part of the journey for every writer, and the only way to overcome them is to keep going. Dust yourself off, take a deep breath, and get back to writing. Remember, every “no” brings you one step closer to a “yes.” Keep submitting your work, honing your craft, and pushing forward, because you never know when success might be just around the corner.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Dealing with rejection and criticism can be tough, but having a support system can make a world of difference. Surround yourself with fellow writers, mentors, or friends who understand the ups and downs of the writing process. Lean on them for encouragement, advice, and a shoulder to cry on when needed.

Focus on What You Can Control

As a writer, there are things that are within your control, such as your writing skills, your persistence, and your attitude. But there are also things that are beyond your control, such as the preferences of editors, the competition, and the ever-changing publishing landscape. Instead of dwelling on the things you can’t control, focus on what you can. Keep improving your writing, keep submitting your work, and keep a positive attitude. Let go of the rest and trust that your hard work and perseverance will pay off in the long run.

Celebrate Your Successes

Lastly, regardless of past rejections, it’s important to celebrate your successes, no matter how big or small they may be. Did you receive a positive comment from a reader? Did you get a personalized rejection with feedback? Did you meet a writing deadline? Celebrate these achievements, as they are milestones on your writing journey. Treat yourself to a small indulgence, share the good news with your writing buddies, or simply take a moment to pat yourself on the back. Acknowledging your successes will help you stay motivated and positive, even in the face of rejection.

atmosphere press

Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below. 

Atmosphere Press was founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome.

We hold true to those principles today.

© Atmosphere Press, all rights reserved. 7107 Foxtree Cove, Austin, TX 78750

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