Advice From Other Great Writers

accepting rejection and moving on


Searching for some words of wisdom from other great writers who have experienced literary rejections? Keep reading for some inspiring quotes from well-known authors about their famous rejections. Reflecting on their insights may be a helpful step in accepting rejection and moving on.


Thought Catalog presents 10 Great Writers Discuss What It’s Like Dealing With Literary Rejection. Some of them include:


“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” – Sylvia Plath


“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” – Harper Lee


“I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, ‘To hell with you.’” – Saul Bellow


“Here’s this story that’s important for me to tell. When I have something to fight for, I fight really hard. No one’s going to tell me I can’t publish something.” – Rebecca Skloot


“Coming back is the thing that enables you to see how all the dots in your life are connected.” – Anne Pachett

Aerogramme Writers’ Studio offers 12 Famous Writers on Literary Rejection. A few of them are:


“This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address’. Just keep looking for the right address.” – Barbara Kingsolver


“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.” – Kurt Vonnegut


“Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”  – Neil Gaiman


“I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, ‘To hell with you.’“ – Saul Bellow


“Often, you have to fail as a writer before you write that bestselling novel or ground-breaking memoir. If you’re failing as a writer – which it definitely feels like when you’re struggling to write regularly or can’t seem to earn a living as a freelance writer – maybe you need to take a long-term perspective.” – J.K. Rowling


Write Tribe inspires writers with the following quotes:


“I tell writers to keep reading, reading, reading. Read widely and deeply. And I tell them not to give up even after getting rejection letters. And only write what you love.” – Anita Diamant


“If you’re not failing now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen


“No one put a gun to your head and ordered you to become a writer. One writes out of his own choice and must be prepared to take the rough spots along the road with a certain equanimity, though allowed some grinding of the teeth.” – Stanley Ellin


“I wrote poems in my corner of the Brooks Street station. I sent them to two editors who rejected them right off. I read those letters of rejection years later and I agreed with those editors.” – Carl Sandburg


“An absolutely necessary part of a writer’s equipment, almost as necessary as talent, is the ability to stand up under punishment, both the punishment the world hands out and the punishment he inflicts upon himself.” – Irwin Shaw


Stay tuned for more next week when we talk about the importance of staying healthy when faced with rejection.

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