How do you handle rejection?


The rejection is scribbled right on Jack London’s letter.

I started my day with a rejection letter.

It came from a New York agent who had asked me to write and resubmit a few months ago. She said she needed 20,000 more words or she couldn’t sell my book. Encouraged, I tore the thing apart, did a little new research and went deeper in every chapter I wrote, I even added a few extra chapters that really were needed.

It was a nice letter. She quoted a scene she particularly found effective and she told me not to give up, that I had talent.

But you know what I did, don’t you? I stewed all day. Felt that sting of the word “sorry.”

What I really did was feel sorry for myself. I needed to let it ooze through my fingers and toes, wallow in it a bit.


I’m amazed he kept count. But from the looks of this note, he also knows who did the rejecting and when.

My husband reminded me about our visit to Jack London’s home in California. Or what’s left of it. (I wrote about it when I was a travel writer.) Ol’ Jack, author of such great works as To Build a Fire and Call of the Wild, kept his first rejection letter. And it’s on display in the museum that’s part of Jack London Park.

I took a picture of it, as well as the note that he received 600 rejections letters before he became successful. I’m not a young woman, I don’t have that kind of time. (It might be true but I never really think that way.)

But I keep thinking about those rejections. I wonder if Jack stewed all day after he got one. Maybe. I’d like to think he did.

But I’m going to do what he did. Keep writing. Keeping sending out my stuff. Keep hoping.

That’s what we do, isn’t it? As Charlotte Bronte once said, “I am just going to write because I cannot help it.”

So–if your work has been been rejected, how did you handle it?



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