Facing Rejection in Writing


Anya Geist, Opinions Editor

No one likes having their writing rejected. After you’ve put in a lot of work to complete something, to make it the best it can be, it can feel like a massive letdown. Didn’t you deserve to get that award, win that contest, or be published in that magazine? And the disappointment of rejection never fades, no matter how many times you’ve submitted writing, even if you’ve been published before. But perhaps the worst part about rejection is that it’s pretty much inevitable. If you want to write, you will be rejected. As aggravating as it can be, though, don’t quit. Rejection is real, but it is only a part of writing. Writing is still exciting; it still gives you opportunities; it is worth it to continue.

It doesn’t always feel that way. It is scary to submit writing in the first place, never mind what response you get. I think that everyone feels that way—it can be intimidating to think of strangers reading and judging your writing. That’s a perfectly natural reaction. I like to think of it in a different light, though. For me, it can be refreshing to send my writing to a stranger. When I share my writing with people in my life, I often feel that their opinion of it is affected by the fact that they know me. Whether this is a positive or negative change, it is a change nonetheless. Sending writing to a contest or website is different, because whoever is reading it doesn’t know me, and is only able to focus on my writing. It’s also exciting! Regardless of whether my writing is accepted, someone has been reading my writing! Someone I don’t know has sat down and read the poem or essay I wrote; they have thought about it and reflected on it. When you submit your writing, your voice is getting out there. Even if your submission ends up being rejected, at least one new person has heard what you have to say. You never know what impact your writing could have on the stranger who reads it; they could be inspired or motivated by it; it could make them consider something new. Your writing is powerful. Submitting it allows you to express its power.

While it is exciting to think about someone new reading your writing, it is also important to remember that, at the end of the day, it is only your opinion that matters. When a piece is rejected, that doesn’t mean it is bad. Writing is very subjective, and different people have different reactions to what they read. Sometimes the editor/judge who reads your submission might like what you’ve written, but they don’t think it fits with the message they are looking for in the submissions. Sometimes publications just don’t have enough space. There are a myriad of reasons why writing might be rejected, and you shouldn’t assume that your rejection is because you weren’t good enough. Take pride in your writing, and don’t care what other people think. Try your hardest before you submit, and ask others for advice if you want (although don’t feel obligated to follow it). Be happy with what you’ve accomplished. The only thing that matters is that you have confidence in yourself.

Even if you receive a rejection, there are always more places to send your writing. You might even write something new, send it to the same place, and have it accepted! The great thing about writing is that it gives you infinite chances—and it is important to take advantage of those chances. You won’t ever get published if you don’t try. My stories, poetry, and essays have been published in a variety of places and won a couple of contests. However, I’m pretty sure I’ve had at least as many rejections, if not more. Yes, those rejections hurt. Yes, I thought my writing deserved to be accepted. But I kept submitting. And eventually, I got published. Find places to send your writing: The Colonel Chronicle, The Apricot Journal, different magazines and contests (linked below). And then put yourself out there; take the risk. The worst thing they can do is say no.

Places to Submit Writing

The Colonel Chronicle (our school newspaper!)

       Join the Google Classroom: 7e2topb

       Submit here: The Colonel Chronicle! 

The Apricot Journal (our school literary magazine! (stories, poetry, plays, essays, etc))

       Join the Google Classroom: z6wwitf

       Submit here: The Apricot Journal!