Editors Note: I found this article so valuable because it links to a string of eight other articles where a very successful author discusses how he learned to deal with rejection. I’m offering this to my readers because I know that developing thick skin is a very important part to growing your confidence. Read more in Cecil Murphey’s About Rejections series.
Early in my writing career, I sent a manuscript to Christianity Today and within weeks I received a rejection. Inadvertently, I sent the manuscript back to the same magazine. Two weeks later, the same editor not only accepted my article but also asked if I wanted to write paid book reviews. (Not being stupid, I said yes.)
I’m not encouraging writers to follow my example but only to point out that rejection is a subjective response. The cliché holds true: “What one editor hates another one loves.”
Here’s another truism: If you’re going to submit material for publication, you’ll receive rejections. That’s a guarantee.
At a writers’ conference in North Carolina in 2001, the speaker asked those of us who had received more than ten rejections to stand. More than half the conferees rose. “How many have received twenty? twenty-five? thirty?”
As the numbers increased, fewer people remained standing. At the end, I was one of only three left. All of us admitted to having received more than a hundred rejections. I’ve been writing longer than the other two, so I assume I had more rejections. None of us felt embarrassed. In fact, one of them said, “Rejections are our red badge of courage—we had fought the battles and turndowns are our wounds.”
Rejection is an unwanted-but-necessary part of professional writing. If you can’t handle rejections, don’t submit for publication.
Cecil Murphey is a New York Times’ bestselling author and international speaker who has written or co-written more than one hundred books, including the runaway bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold millions of copies, have been translated into more than 40 languages, and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world. You can learn more about his work at his website, and read his valuable advice for writers on his blog.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on April 20, 2010, and is used with permission.