Rejection: Encouragement in Disguise

Dear Shweta Ganesh Kumar:

Thank you for sending “XXX.” Your work received careful consideration here.

We’ve decided this manuscript isn’t right for us, but we wish you luck placing it elsewhere.

Kind regards,

The Editors

Yes, yes, I can see all of you aspiring writers out there nodding your heads at the painful twinge of familiarity that letter caused. But, guess what?

You are not alone.

Those are pretty much the words I read everyday when I checked my email circa 2010 when I started to send out my first submissions. Every day, I would screw up my courage, cross my fingers and toes and pray to everything I believe in for a break, one break, please let today be the day, and click open my inbox.

And there they would be, the mails from people who just did not have space for my writing, even though I would find out, from careful perusal of their sites, that they had ample space for the floozies and ghost writers of the world. I would judge away as hot tears added a touch of salt to my bucket of chocolate ice cream. Some spirited wailing later, I would sit down again. It would be time to send out my manuscript to someone else.

By the summer of 2011 when my first book was released, I had 22 rejection letters carefully filed away in a folder called ‘Motivation’.

For, despite the stinging pain they caused that is what they really are. Words that cut you to the bone and force to you to look at your work or research whom you send it out to or even reword your submission letter. Words that strengthen your resolve to get published. Think of it as a rite of initiation, even the best of the best have to pass, to call themselves published writers.

Don’t believe me? Well, then what about Stephen King? He says:

“By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”

Of course, some of us can have actual laundry baskets filled with these blessings in disguise, but that’s a different story.

So, do you have a rejection story that changed you for the better?