I’ve been writing for a regional magazine for the past few months. They rarely say no to my ideas. Bolstered by their unfettered yeses, I decided it was time to spread my wings a bit and pitch to a slightly glossier publication in the same region.
It was a good story idea. I sent it off in January…the months rolled by with no response, so I sent a follow-up and a query for another story within a two day period. This time, they responded to the new idea almost immediately. The answer was no. Not because they didn’t like it, but because they had run a similar piece not long before. In the mean time, the follow-up query was accepted at a different publication, so I notified the first editor of the change. Their response was encouraging: “So sorry we waited to long to get back to you on that article”. I was ecstatic, and to be honest, feeling quite pleased with myself…okay, maybe a little smug.
Why? It meant they actually considered the second article and were disappointed they missed out on the first one. It means they perused my writing samples and found my work worthy of a response. It means I have a good chance of writing for them in the future. It also means I don’t have to take every rejection personally. Sometimes it’s because an editor doesn’t have a place for your idea at the present time. Sometimes it just means you need to expand your horizons, take more risks and get your work out to a broader audience.
Rejection is an opportunity to dig a little deeper creatively, to sharpen your writing skills, and to make your skin a little thicker.
Something to ponder: Margret Mitchell’s epic novel, Gone With the Wind was rejected 38 times, JK Rowlings was rejected by 15 publishers before Harry Potter was published, and Louisa May Alcott was apparently told to stick to teaching.