Rejections

Writers get rejected, a lot. Learning to deal with them is critical.

Tobia Buckell once wrote about the difference between goals and things you’d like to happen to you, and it stuck with me. Goals are things that you can control. Things you’d like to happen to you are not.

I used to get the two categories confused, and that made dealing with rejections harder. “Selling a story by the end of the year” is not a goal, it’s something you’d like to happen to you. But if you set a goal to “get ten submissions out by the end of the month,” then rejections will allow you to get more submissions out, thus accomplishing your goal faster.

I set a goal this year to get out more submissions than I’ve ever done, and I’ve accomplished that. I also set a goal to write more than I’ve ever done, and I’ve accomplished that. Along the way, I also collected more rejections than ever before — but I’m happy, because they are tangible signs that I worked towards my goal.

Incidentally, I also had more acceptances this year than ever before — definitely something I’m very happy to have happened to me. But the rejections, they made the acceptances possible.