Hate Mail: Dealing With Rejection Letters

English: Rejection

Hey, at least they said ‘sorry’.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rejection letters: you’re going to get ‘em.*

Sorry, but that’s the truth. They come in a lot of shapes (the form letter, the slightly encouraging personal note, the newly-popular ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’**), but the underlying message is always the same: no, thank you. And sometimes they leave off the thank you.

It sucks. But there’s only one way to avoid getting rejected, and that’s to never submit anything. If you’re okay with that, then fine. You keep doing your thing. The rest of this entry will be directed to everyone else, so feel free to let your mind wander. I hear there are bunnies over here.

For the rest of you, if you’re going to be a writer, you need to learn to deal with rejection. And I don’t mean ‘deal with it’ by weeping into a bag of chocolate-covered Prozac. You can work with this. You just need to figure out how.

But everyone’s got their own way of doing that, or more than one. By dint of some very unscientific research, I have compiled a list of some of the more popular methods for dealing with rejection for your perusal. Consider them along with your next rejection:

1. The Sad Panda: I always knew the world was against me, but now I have proof. I will scrawl illegibly on this with red Sharpie, cry on it a few times, and then post an evocative picture of it with Instagram. Then they’ll understand.

2. The Air Up There: Clearly, this philistine does not recognize true genius when it deigns to place itself within their view. So what if I use words without knowing what they mean? I know what they should mean. Perhaps my gift is too precious to waste in their tawdry, commercial word factory.


4. The Hemmingway: So. This rejection. Burns like salt. But no manly tears. There is bourbon instead. *Rest of week becomes hazy until you wake up in a dumpster with a scar where your kidney used to be.*

5. The Clinger: God, I’m so sorry I offended this agent with my crappy, pathetic submission. But maybe it’s not too late. Maybe I can change. Maybe if I write them offering to change everything about the story and the characters and name the protagonist after their children they’ll love meeeeeee!

6. The Diviner: This is a sign. The universe is trying to tell me that I shouldn’t be a writer. This is too much for me. I’m out.

7. The Down But Not Out: This fucking sucks. Is there anything I can learn from this letter that can be helpful? Oh, you shouldn’t misspell the editors’ names? Gotcha. *Dusts self off* Right. New game starts now. Let’s go again.

*Except for you. You’re special. Your mother told me so.
** The latter is also known as “Passive-aggressive horseshit that makes me want to spit battery acid into someone’s eyes.”