Written by A Guest Author February 2nd, 2023

Five Things To Do After Getting Rejected as a Writer

By Samuel Edward

Imagine squeezing time out from other daily engagements and committing some of your brightest of creative ideas into a 5,000-word story, with a deadline for submission fast approaching. The late nights, the backaches from hours of sitting, the many rough drafts. And then the joys of putting the final touches to your work. Then, upon completion, comes the excitement of clicking the send button to put your work out there. Then a few days or weeks or months after, you check your inbox only to see “dear xxx, thank you for sending your work, but unfortunately…..”.

Getting a rejection is a writer’s worst nightmare. This is true because not only is writing a personal art, it is also a very vulnerable one. Personally, I received my 150th rejection email a fortnight ago, but does that make me less than a writer? No. Therefore, from my experiences, I’m sharing some tips to help writers react appropriately to rejections.


I advise every writer to grow a thick skin. This is inevitable because, at some point in your writing career, your work will be rejected. It is however important to know that it is your work that is being rejected, and not the brain behind the work. Very understandably, being sent a rejection email sucks, and it can seem like insensitivity from an editor. But that doesn’t take away the fact that their selection processes may not tread the path of our creative preferences as writers. It is important to accept the rejection. Consider embarking on what I refer to as the B.G.P. (Brief Grief Period). It is important to grieve, because you are no robot. But don’t let your grieving period be as long as a statewide seven days mourning for the queen.


After getting rejected, do some introspection regarding your writing. There is always a reason for your article being rejected, and while some of those reasons are way beyond your control, there are some factors you can take a closer look at. Many writers just submit because they have an article ready for submission without paying attention to what different publications prefer. Doing this is like shooting yourself in the foot and, without doubt, submitting an article that doesn’t align will most certainly earn you a rejection. So, after getting rejected, it is important to figure out where you got it wrong from your own end. It could be the formatting style, mode of submission, or type of submission. Moreover, some publications charge a fee for personalized editorial feedback. You can decide to better your chances of getting accepted on your next submission by considering such feedback.


It is counter-productive to wait all your life for feedback from one particular publication or editor before you can continue writing. In essence, you should always have a side project that you are working on while you await a feedback for an already submitted piece. That way, if the feedback comes in as a rejection, you can always quickly grieve a bit, learn a few lessons from it and then shift your attention to the next big thing in your life. Therefore, having a side project will help you heal faster from a rejection and give you another opportunity to redeem yourself.


Whether it is the first rejection or the thousandth, rejections can make you doubt your writing abilities. It can make you want to reconsider your craft. It is normal and permissible to feel that way. However, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself the honest question of what drove you into writing. After this period of soul-searching, it is important that you emerge as your own cheerleader.


In life, you hear once bitten, twice shy; but in a writer’s life, it is once bitten, twice as bold. When you have gathered yourself to work on another article, it is best not to allow the bad vibes you had from your previous rejections to grip you. Write like you’ve never been rejected before, because your acceptance email may be closer than you can imagine.

BIO: Samuel Edward is a creative writer and content creator. Some of his works are published in selected online literary journals like Mystery Publishers, Hilltop Digest and Shallow Tales Review. When he’s not writing, he watches as the clouds crawl. He lives in Nigeria.


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