Rebound

Advice to writers on rejection sounds like something a counsellor might say to a troubled adolescent.  Use rejection to turn yourself around. Take energy from it. Don’t let it get you down. Keep trying. My advice is to develop a thick skin, or convince yourself you have one. Listen to your intution and feel when something you have sent is not as good as it could be, or has simply been sent to the wrong place. Don’t take it personally, as if the writing is part of you – which in some ways it is, of course. If we get self-pitying we cannot move onwards and upwards without limping.

Few writers get anywhere with publishing their work without having to confront rejection. Sometimes it is bland ‘not suitable for our publication’. Sometimes you get some genuinely helpful and encouraging advice. ‘Almost, but let down by the ending, we feel.’ Occasionally it is downright crass. I have had stories that got to competiton shortlists ignored (or insulted) by feedback I have received. Sometimes I have been embarrassed to re-read what I actually sent in a moment of impulsiveness. It sharpens my critical faculties to get to know what is good advice and what is the penmanship of an over-zealous, but under-read, intern. It is OK to bitch about the rejections to your friends, and have them console you, but there could be a kernel of truth in what is said, even in the bland. Know the magazine before you send. Read more, write more, but don’t expect to publish every shopping list. No musician would perform without practice and criticism. Sometimes it amazes me that inexperienced writers do not expect to go through the process of refining their skills, that because they have written since infancy, somehow this qualifies them to be professional writers.

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