Twelve Rejections ... coming of age as a writer

Updated: May 1



I love my rejection slips. They show me I try. Sylvia Plath

I read an article about a writer whose goal was to receive 100 rejections in a year. During that year, she achieved her 100 rejections, and in addition, she also had two pieces of work accepted. Freesia Mckee is another writer who pursued the 100 rejections goal in 2018. You can read about her experience here.


I love this concept for two reasons. One, it helps you to develop thick skin and resilience as a writer. Two, it encourages you to write for submissions with no fear. You become free to write. There is no pressure. No expectations. No judgement.


As an emerging writer, I believe that getting your work out into the world is important. I am currently writing the first draft of a novel and therefore, it will be a while before this longform fiction is released into the wild. In addition, I write short stories and poems to practice my writing craft. These are my smaller training sessions.


I have been working on finding the perfect system to write my short stories and poems regularly. To find the time to draft them, edit and polish them, hand over to beta readers and then submit, either for publication or competitions. You have to be in it to win it, don’t you think?


With trial and error, incorporating my full-time job as an English teacher, my coming dissertation for my creative writing masters, drafting my novel, and dealing with all the other things life enjoys throwing at me, I'm confident that one short story and/or poem per month is achievable.


In 2021, my aim is to have 12 rejections.


To achieve this goal, I need to write 12 short stories or poems. To submit these 12 stories or poems in competitions or for publication. If I get rejected, I’m on the way to achieving my goal. If I get accepted or win, well, what a consolation prize.


Changing this perspective will help me to develop a positive mindset. To remind me that I am writing for pleasure.


I think that you have to believe in your destiny; that you will succeed, you will meet a lot of rejection and it is not always a straight path, there will be detours - so enjoy the view. Michael York

As a writer, rejections are inevitable. Why not make the best of it? In fact, I'm confident that this will spill into all other areas of my life. Rejection will empower me and give me the skills to ride the troughs and highs of life in a fun and exciting way. Just like a rollercoaster; one of those big ones!


Rejections will shape you into a great writer. I truly believe this. But— yes, there is a but—you have to commit to practising your writing often. Daily if you can.


Rejected pieces aren't failures; unwritten pieces are. Greg Daugherty

Sophie Mackintosh in her article, ‘Rejections is the norm for writers. So why do we hide it?’, advises that rejections should be admired. To not be ashamed of them. That rejection is an important part of your artistic journey. It tells you that you are taking risks. That you are being innovative. That as a writer, you are trying.


Your first novel, short story, poems or creative non-fiction is the start of your journey in finding your way as a writer. Like the beginner guitarist that needs to fight through the pain and toughen their fingers to play beautiful music, so does a writer need to write regularly, show their work and experience rejection.


I tell writers to keep reading, reading, reading. Read widely and deeply. And I tell them not to give up even after getting rejection letters. And only write what you love. Anita Diament

In 2021, my aim is for 12 rejections.


I say, bring it on. I embrace you oh glorious rejection. You will make me stronger, more resilient and get me writing with a sense of emotional freedom.


I know that my writing is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it will be someone’s. You only need one person to read your story.


This, for me, is the true prize.


Happy writing.



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