Posted by Bri Forgione, GD Poetry Editor for 7.1
Rejection is everywhere. Rejection is inevitable. We experience it in relationships, job interviews, writing submissions, and much more. Some experience rejection more than others, and some people handle it in different ways from one another. When it comes to rejection in creative writing, I believe it helps make a stronger writer. In her poem “One Art,” Elizabeth Bishop writes “the art of losing isn’t hard to master.” “Lose something every day,” she advises, “Then practice losing farther, losing faster.” In terms of rejection, we want Elizabeth Bishop to be right. However, we often find ourselves feeling disheartened and hearing the same seven words, “Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it,” doesn’t help.
Writing is a vulnerable process, and submitting your work in hopes of publication is scary. When I first got rejected, I found myself at a standstill. Part of me wanted an explanation, and part of me wanted to just ignore the rejection and pretend it hadn’t happened. In the end, I knew it was going to make me a stronger writer because it made me want to have my work published even more. But I was left feeling defeated and unsure how to take my next step. Something I had to learn was that my writing isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and in learning this I’ve come to understand that rejection isn’t personal; it’s simply life for the writer. Although not every editor will provide feedback, I believe it is important to listen to the ones that do.
All in all, the process of rejection is painful. But I’ve found it helps to remind yourself why you love writing. This will help you remember that writing is a part of who you are, whether others accept it or not, and this can help shift your focus from the sting of rejection to the passion of writing.