Sometimes You Need a Rejection

“ I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.” — Sylvester Stallone 


Image courtesy of Mister GC at
Image courtesy of Mister GC at

Through my writing, I’ve learned an important truth. I’ve gone to conferences, attended workshops, read books on the craft, been critiqued, and written, written, written. I’ve grown in my writing ability. By great strides. But knowing this sometimes tempts me to think I’ve arrived at a place to relax.

Image courtesy of nongpimmy at
Image courtesy of nongpimmy at


Often believing we’ve arrived is driven by our growth, not by where excellence lies. Click to tweet. 

I think this is true for most of us. Sometimes we need a rejection to push us to the next level.




Rejections We Might Need


Rejection 1


  • The growth. We’ve gone over and over our scene. We’ve thought of the kinds of problems our critique partner has previously dinged us for. We know it’s perfect. Perhaps we don’t need a critique partner anymore.
  • The rejection. We receive a critique, bloody with red ink.
  • The Next Level. We realize critique partners are a permanent need. When we’re immersed in our scene, even after we’ve let it sit, we can’t see problems only other readers can. Like the turn of a phrase that makes sense to us, but confuses a reader.


Image courtesy of Idea go at
Image courtesy of Idea go at

Rejection 2


  • The growth. Our writing improved after each of two rejected novels. Our third book is published.
  • The rejection. Our fourth book can’t find a home. In the rejection letters, kind editors give us suggestions to improve the work.
  • The Next Level. The rejection teaches us one published book doesn’t mean we’ve arrived in our writing ability. We must continue to hone the craft.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Rejection 3 


  • The growth. We’ve written a publishable story. We’ve done everything craft books, workshop teachers, and paid editors suggested to make it the best story. We pitch it to editors at conferences. Several like our idea and request a proposal.
  • The rejection. We receive kind rejections telling us the editors liked the story but had no place for it. They even take the time to encourage us about our story.
  • The Next Level. We realize this is the business. The rejection isn’t a reflection on us as a writer. We refuse to be discouraged. We move on to the next project. But we tuck the book away.
    • Times may change, and an editor might remember our book and request it again.
    • Or we sell several similar books and garner a following of readers ready for more of our books. We self-publish that book.
    • Or, with our growing reader base, a publisher might be eager now to look at it. This happened to John Grisham. A Time to Kill was Grisham’s first book. Many publishers rejected it. Then a publisher gave it a 5000-copy printing. But after his next books became bestsellers, A Time to Kill was republished twice and made into a movie. 


  • Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
    Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

We learn to keep our options open rather than quitting. For me, I trust in God’s will and timing.

When has a rejection pushed you forward to the next level?

What to Do When You Have to Fight to Create

“The barriers are not erected which can say to aspiring talents and industry, ‘Thus far and no farther’.” — Ludwig van Beethoven


Do you feel like you’re always fighting everyone and everything to perform your creative work? Are you at the point you’re willing to make some changes to satisfy your passion and calling to create?

Here are suggestions for 7 common battles creative people face. Make a change and create!

1. What do you do when your spouse treats your creative work like a hobby that should come last in your life?

?????????????????????????????????????????????????You graciously and tenaciously:

  • ask that your Christmas, birthday, anniversary, Mother’s/Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day gifts are time, interest, or something that helps with the progress of your creative work.


2. What do you do when your children always need you when you sit down to work?

You graciously and tenaciously:MP900178844

  • cut out a TV show at night and rise one or two hours earlier than normal and sneak off to your favorite creating place, or
  • set reasonable unavailable times when children are older, and
  • train yourself and your children to honor those times.


3. What do you do when gatekeepers between your creative work and your audience toss your work on the reject pile?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

You graciously and tenaciously:

  • package up your creative work and take it to the next gatekeeper, or
  • learn more about your craft, rework it, have it professionally critiqued, and self-market it, or
  • let it go and move on to the next project.


Image courtesy of arztsamui at
Image courtesy of arztsamui at

4. What do you do when the business-end demands of your creative work drive a stake into your creativity?

You graciously and tenaciously:

  • separate the business and creative parts of your work into two part-time jobs that complement but never cross each other, or
  • hire out all or some of the business end (also see the gifts idea in number 1 to help fund assistants).


5. What do you do when food, shelter, and clothes require you to table creative work for unsatisfying work?

You graciously and tenaciously:

  • thank God for the paying work,
  • put away a portion of your pay to fund a shorter workweek, early retirement, a sabbatical, or long vacations dedicated to creative work (also see the gifts idea in number 1 for extra savings),
  • consider getting up earlier than family members to work creatively, and
  • look for ways to use your creativity in your paying work.


Couple Working in Homeless Shelter6. What do you do when you work creatively from home and friends, family, church members, and teachers entreat you to volunteer during the day?

You graciously and tenaciously:

  • say no and
  • volunteer on projects in the evenings or on your days off. (For me, through prayer, God guides me on my priorities so I can do this with confidence.)

7. What do you do when you your family and home are neglected because of your creative work?

You graciously and tenaciously:

  • set a reasonable work schedule that works around your precious family,
  • stick to the schedule,
  • give up eating out often or ask that in lieu of gifts you can hire someone to do all or some of your house responsibilities, and
  • consider getting up earlier than family members to work.

What tactics have you used that were effective in your battle to create?