Professional Writer Rant: Slow Sips From the Hot Mug of Rejection

Posted on March 28, 2014 by Anne G

writer rant rejection

Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging them this week. Enjoy.

Life as a professional in ghostwriting services has its moments, and unfortunately, red-hot rejections account for a decent percentage.

If you have a thin skin going into professional writing, you’ll toughen up early on. Even the best writers experience their share of no-thank-yous from time to time, they just learn to take it all in stride.

Don’t Make It Personal

The first rule of survival is simply this:

Don’t make it personal.

The client on the other end of that “Thanks! We’ll keep you in mind.” had a reason for not choosing your sample above all others. Maybe he received 2000 replies to his job listing and simply can’t find time to sort through them all. Maybe the guy in line before you has an advanced degree and is still willing to work for the same amount of money you’re willing to work for. Or, maybe the client simply read your sample and hated it. Take your polite rejection and suck it up. It could always be worse.

He could have made it personal.

He could have talked about the shortcomings in your profile pic. He might have made crude remarks about your lack of talent. He could have called you a pretentious hack that can’t string two words together. That would be personal.

Instead, he said, “Thanks! We’ll keep you in mind.”

Run with it.

Shake It Off

They called Fred Astaire bald, skinny and vocally challenged at the onset. That was pretty personal. Did Fred sit in a corner and cry? Did he curl up with a mug of Kahlua-spiked coffee and curse this world that didn’t understand him?

Maybe.

Probably he didn’t though. Considering he went on to sing and dance his way to fame and fortune despite the venom his worst critics spouted, it’s a good bet Fred took rejection in stride and went on about business.

This is called shaking it off and you’ll learn to do a lot of that during your first year on the professional writing circuit.

Or, you’ll give up. It’s only one or the other.

Sip, Don’t Chug

If you ARE the moody, creative type that needs a moment or two to cower in the corner and wallow in the unfairness of it all, take small sips from your particular mug of rejection instead of trying to chug the whole steaming debacle in one gulp. Remind yourself it takes tremendous talent to open any door in the writing industry. The fact that you’ve made it far enough to even submit writing samples to clients is a huge testament to your skill.

So one client didn’t have a need for the article you wrote. It doesn’t make you a bad writer. It only makes you human. At the end of the day, there will be plenty of other clients who loved your work.

And at least you’re in good company:

  • “The Beatles have no future in show business.” (Decca Records)
  • “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.” (San Francisco Examiner)
  • “First, we must ask, does it have to be a whale?” (Bentley & Son Publishing House, to Herman Melville, regarding “Moby Dick”)

Now that’s personal.

Anne G is copywriter with big aspirations. She plans to one day parlay her writing talent into a paycheck big enough to provide for the kids, the cats, and the beagle in the custom they so richly deserve.


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