Literary Rejections Are Badges Of Honor

literary rejectionsIn this final blog post in this series we’ll be taking a look back and reviewing strategies for coping with and overcoming literary rejections.


In 25 Women On Overcoming Rejection Janet Fitch states, “When I sold my first book, a young-adult novel called Kicks, I had a party and I put my rejections on the walls of my living room. Including the hundreds of short story rejections I’d gotten over the years, and those from a book that never sold, as well as the book that did, they reached from the floorboards to up over my head on all four walls. I look at rejections as a badge of honor. Until you have your first hundred, you’re not even a real writer.”


Literary rejections are part of an author’s life. Instead of looking at rejections as failures see them as badges of honor. Do this by applying these strategies:


  • Keep doing the work. This one may seem obvious, but you have to keep writing and creating. Your job as a writer is to keep on writing even when it is tough.


  • Treat the psychological wounds that rejection inflicts by soothing emotional pain and responding to our need to belong. The brain processes emotional and physical pain similarly. Don’t take rejection as a personal attack. Reach out to family and friends to validate who you are. Reconnecting with loved ones helps us feel grounded and connected.


  • Reframe obstacles like rejection from a negative threat to a positive challenge. Doing so will help you develop resiliency which is important to how we process pain. List five values your writing delivers to better understand your purpose.


  • Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself the same way that you would treat a friend. Recognize that suffering is part of the shared human experience. Be aware of the present moment in a clear and balanced way.


  • Conquer rumination by distracting yourself with watching a movie, working out, or doing a crossword puzzle. If the negative thoughts persist consider making an appointment with a mental health professional or taking a beginning mindfulness course.


  • Carry out a rejection ritual to help you move on. Rituals help people feel in control of their lives and facilitate healing. Some authors honor their rejections by treating themselves to a celebratory latte, making a piece of art out of the letters, or posting them on social media.


  • Identify your mindset about your literary rejections. Do you have a fixed or growth mindset? If you believe that your abilities and intelligence are fixed and won’t change, consider adopting more of a growth mindset. Believing that you have the power to improve your abilities and intelligence through hard work and practice is essential to great accomplishment.


  • Focus on healthy habits. Exercise helps manage stress, boost your mood, and improve your self-confidence. Laughter releases stress, relieves pain, and stimulates your mind. A good distraction allows your mind to wander and gives your mind a break for a short period of time. Connecting with people who know you well will remind you of your qualities and strengths. Mindfulness helps increase focus, decrease stress, and improve emotional regulation.


This series gives you some valuable resources and strategies for accepting rejection and moving on. Your badges of honor are proof that you are showing up, doing the work, and realizing your purpose.

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