Remember Your Passion

So much of being a writer is weathering rejection. We often hear the advice, “You need to develop a thick skin to survive in this business.”

This is partially true. We can’t let every no beat us down or we’ll spend all of our time getting back up instead of moving forward.

But those rejections do hurt. The more often you experience, the easier it becomes. It’s taken me over ten years to reach the point I can say this honestly.

However, I still don’t like them. I don’t think there’s a writer out there who does. If you do, please share in the comments!

There are a few valuable things rejections teach us. They make us examine why we’re doing what we’re doing. When I feel beat up by the no’s, I have to remind myself why I want to be writer.

It’s not for the fame. Of all the truly awesome writers out there, how many are famous? Not many.

It’s not for the money. Most authors still keep their day jobs or spouses who help supplement their incomes.

I write because I’m passionate about my stories. I have a message God has put on my heart. I write because I don’t feel whole when I stop. I write because God created me to be a writer.

So when you’re faced with a rejection, no matter what step of the publishing ladder you’re on, remember your passion for writing.

When you feel like giving up, ask yourself these questions:

* Why did I start writing in the first place?

* What kept me typing my first story before I even thought about sending it out?

* What message do I want my words to convey?

Write them down on a card, so the next time you receive a rejection letter or a pass on your work you can pull it out to remind yourself. And then start writing your next masterpiece.

Also, feel free to check out these rejections by other writers. Knowing that other writers really are going through the same thing can be helpful.

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31 thoughts on “Remember Your Passion

  1. Melissa, thanks for sharing this and for your tips on keeping our focus while we deal with rejection. Rememgering why we write — that vision God gave us — helps us keep rejection in its proper perspective. Thanks again.

  2. I was fortunate that my first rejection letter didn’t really feel like a rejection letter – they told me they would pass on my book proposal but to consider myself solicited and send any future book ideas to them. Most editors I’ve dealt with have been willing to give me constructive feedback on why they rejected my proposal. But, while I value the learning experience, it still hurts. Understanding why it hurts helps me learn more about myself through the process as well and hopefully will make me a better writer. Thanks for the reminder to remember why I’m writing.

    • Elizabeth, that’s wonderful and doesn’t happen very often. Treasure that rejection, it really is a good one (such an oxymoron). 🙂 I’m glad you’re still writing!

  3. So far I have been fortunate in that most of the rejections have been form letters so it easy to de-personalize the rejection, but of course, as I was hoping to get paid and validated I don’t like it.

    The truth is that it follows the same mathematical laws as sales in every field. I also believe it is true that for many writers; it is possible to find the write publishers and editors and the rejections drop as much as they do amongst friends or steady romantic partners, which helps.

    • Miriam, I believe it is true rejections will drop only if our craft is improving. Once we begin to master it, we’ll know by the requests for fulls and eventually contracts. I hope you start to receive those soon.

  4. Like you I write because I love my stories, and I believe God has called me to do so. However he hasn’t promised me an easy road either, so I expect to have to do the hard yards and face rejection on the way. However I am human and rejection hurts – so a good thing the One whose opinion really matters will stick the distance with me!

    • Raewyn, I rarely find anything I’m doing for God comes easy, but when I’m following Him, it forces me to listen to Him. And there is nothing sweeter than being in relationship with Him. Here’s to His opinion!

  5. I try to distance myself from the rejections – they didn’t reject ME, they rejected my story.

    Okay, it was a story I poured my time, heart and soul into, but it’s still the story.

    I also try to learn from each rejection. If this story wasn’t right for this publisher, why not? Do I still want to target that publisher, or adjust the next story to fit their style better?

    But, at the end of the day, I still hate rejections. Thanks for the reminder to remember the passion behind the writing!

    • Jan, you hit on a key point. It is very important to learn from the rejections. It’s how I finally landed my awesome agent. I took the rejections from former agents/editors, until my work was ready. If we ignore those suggestions, then we’re not doing our best, and God always wants our best.

  6. I paid a lot of money to have a Christian literary agency critique my first three chapters. I knew I would get hard criticisms, and braced myself for it. But I also hoped for some encouragement. What I received was five pages of very negative comments that slammed me into a puddle of tears. My agent at the time talked me through it, pointed out that what I was writing was edgy in the Christian world, and reminded me, “This is one person’s opinion.” Guess what? My agent still sold my book.

    • Whoop, whoop, Lucille. I always remember when I’m critiquing something to look for the positive as well as the negative, and list both. Glad you stuck with it and landed the sale.

  7. Thanks for sharing this post, Melissa. Rejection is a hard aspect of every writer’s journey, but each one I received helped me make my manuscripts better.

  8. When I got my first rejection letter, it stung for a few minutes, and then I had an epiphany. It was official — I was a writer. That first denial spurred me to refer to myself as a bona fide writer. After all, I had a rejection letter to prove it.

    • Anita, awesome way to look at this. Yes, we’re now official. Remember all the people who want to be writers but have never sent their work out. Love it.

      • Excellent post, Melissa.
        Rejection does sting…but when we remember why we’re writing, or who put it on our heart, it makes it easier to take the sting, learn from it, and move forward.

  9. Oops, somehow, I hit reply to your reply, and my comment got posted above…sorry!

    • lol, that’s all right Loree. I think God can always use someone who is willing to learn, so I pray I’ll always have a learners heart. But, I really can’t say I want more rejections, however He wants to teach me though. 🙂

  10. Good straight advice, Melissa! It doesn’t matter how far along we are in our work, we all still experience rejection of one kind or another. And you’re so right—it leads us back to our clearest heart and thinking. I had a book proposal circulating that didn’t land a publisher right away, and those rejections, though they were painful, really sifted my heart, yet again. All to the good! Thanks for these wonderful words!

    • Leslie, I’m so glad these words helped you. I typed them after receiving a no from a publisher on my proposal. I love your line, sifting your heart, so true.

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  12. Because I self publish, my rejection comes in sales. My platform is small but, when someone says,”That isn’t my kind of book, the rejection is there, and personal. Then I remember the years in the art field when one day at an art show, a woman viewed one of my paintings and said, “That’s not my kind of art.” The next person that came along expressed awe and bought the painting. No matter what field we are in, rejection is a part of life.

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