The Rejection Collection

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When I was in high school, I had a great creative writing class. Our teacher (shout out to Mr. Westrate) encouraged us to start a “rejection collection.” The idea behind the collection was to just start submitting stories, articles, and poems to various sites and magazines and start collecting rejection letters. While it seems like the opposite of what you want as an aspiring author, rejections are an important step to improving your writing. No author (okay, I’m sure there are a few out there somewhere) gets published without getting a few rejections. So, since we all have to go through it, here are three tips for starting your collection.

  1. Only read the rejection in its entirety once. If you keep reading it, you will go insane and probably never write again. Seriously, re-reading too many times only leads to sad movies and ice cream late at night.
  2. Copy down the helpful comments and pointers into a separate document. Even though a lot of rejections are form letters, sometimes an editor will take the time to provide some constructive feedback. Don’t dismiss that. Just because they didn’t publish your work doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable comments.
  3. File your rejections in their own folder. If you’re confronted with a rejection letter every time you open your email, it’s going to be extremely easy to get discouraged.

Even though it is sort of the worst, this week I hope to grow my rejection collection. Fear of failure has prevented me from submitting work for too long now. I’ve got my designated folder ready. Now it’s time to start writing. Anyone with me?

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