Marilyn Holdsworth

Broken Pieces - Rachel Thompson

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kate Bracy on Avoiding the Rejection Blues #WomensFic #WriteTip #AmWriting

3 Ways to Avoid the Rejection Blues

I am a major coward when it comes to rejection. I’ve quit my share of [relationships, projects, critique groups, religious organizations] rather than face the possibility of not measuring up. But over time I have discovered that people who stay in the game long enough to get somewhere have one thing in common: Resilience. And I have learned a thing or two about how to develop it.

We usually use “resilience” in the psychological way, meaning emotional resilience or, “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” But, as a writer, I like the image of what engineers mean by resilience, which is “the capacity of a material to absorb energy when it is deformed elastically and then, upon unloading to have this energy recovered.”

Whoa! If you’ve ever had your essay or poem torn apart by a vicious critique group, that pretty much sums it up. You have to absorb the unkind energy of everyone’s criticism while your work is distorted and misunderstood. Then, when the critiquing stops and they’ve unloaded their opinions, you are supposed to snap back and recover. Like Gwyneth Paltrow after a pregnancy. Or Spanx.

And you know what? You can. You can become the resilient writer who weathers the storms of rejection, and finally finds her audience. Here’s how.


No “Therefores.” Rejection stings – maybe even paralyses – not because someone didn’t like our work, but because of the meaning we attach to that opinion. If your piece isn’t accepted for that collection, or you don’t win the contest, or the agent says, “no,” do not, repeat, do not add your own “therefores.” Especially the “therefore all my work is crap” variety. Rejection is based on a set of standards, and your interpretation of what it means can torture you. It’s not permanent, and it has no bearing on your worth. Don’t give it any more power than it deserves.


Accept rejection as information. If you can pull your feelings out of the fray, take the “criticism” or rejection as information and learn what you can to improve. Many writers I know are so sensitive to critique that they toss in the towel before they glean the value of the information. I had dynamite beta readers for my novel, and they gave me feedback that seemed hard or heavy at the time. But because I had chosen people who were rooting for me, I set aside my ego and accepted every comment as “information.” It is a great gift to get real and honest response to your work, so don’t squander it.

Believe me, your readers out in the world are going to notice these same things, so if you get constructive feedback, decide which of it you want to learn from, and what you think is off-base. I don’t seem to mind if someone corrects my golf swing or tennis backhand. In fact I’m grateful for it from the right person. Think of your writing as a sport you want to get better and better at, and “rejection” tells you lots that you want to know. Trust your heart and instinct and give your ego the day off.


Try again. If you can accept that your work wasn’t right for that [person, project, contest, website] set it aside and try again. If it’s something you really want to offer to the world, you can find a new venue for it, or make changes and resubmit it. Painters do not get into every juried show; sculptors may never have their own exhibition; actors don’t get a call-back every time. Whatever you do, don’t spend more than an afternoon in wound-licking activities.

Here are some thoughts by people who should know:

“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

“Don’t be dismayed by the opinions of editors, or critics. They are only the traffic cops of the arts.” Gene Fowler

So, go for a walk, eat an ice cream sundae, or sob into your pillow. But tomorrow – or the next day – sit down and write.


Winner of four independent publishing awards, including the IndieReader Discovery Award in Women's Fiction, this debut novel hits the mark for smart, discerning readers.

There's nothing about her life that doesn't need a little work, so Melanie Davis thinks of herself as a "fixer-upper." Her history with men leaves her gun shy; her teenaged daughter can't string two civil words together; her best friend Donna just found out she has a life-threatening illness. When Donna also reveals a decades-old secret that still haunts her, Melanie makes it her mission to solve the mystery and reunite Donna with a precious link to her past - before it's too late. 

Along the way Melanie discovers with startling clarity the pricelessness of love and friendship. With a finely-tuned emotional compass, Kate Bracy carries us through a trial-by-illness as funny as it is touching. Her narrator, Melanie, comes to realize the enduring power of love - between men and women, between mothers and daughters, between friends. Through her vivid, endearing characters Bracy creates a small-town world in northern New York where old loves rekindle, friendships prevail, and secret wounds are finally healed. This debut novel will leave you with an awakened heart and a strong urge to send postcards to all the people you love.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre - Women's Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kate Bracy through Facebook



My Life in Books Copyright © 2011 Design by Ipietoon Blogger Template | web hosting