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  • Karen E. Osborne

Submission and Rejection Fatigue

It is easy to get tired of submitting your work to agents, magazines, and small presses. Many queries are met with silence. Or worse, form letter rejections. When someone takes the time to write a personal note, you can feel initially excited, but alas, rejections still hurt and can discourage. You might start questioning your talent, your right to call yourself a writer. Fortunately, there are strategies to help you stay the course.

1. Network. You hope your writing stands on it own merits, but you know others can provide a push. Let friends, colleagues, and fellow writers know you are sending out queries and to whom. Seek introductions, permission to use their name if you think that would be helpful. Network some more. You may meet someone who you inspire or someone who wants to help or someone who can relate and provide encouragement. This article has more great networking tips.

2. We can all use a support group. It helps stave off the feeling of being alone. Are you part of a writing community either online or in your town? Reach out to fellow writers who are on the same journey. Listen to their stories. Share your feelings. Validation and support are powerful.

3. Seek feedback on your submission package. Ask trusted friends, fellow writers, or a professional service if your query letter, synopsis, or book proposal is engaging, well written, helps you stand out. Try a different opening line. Write the agent or editor who took time to write more than a form letter to you. Ask questions, seek advice. Make needed changes.

4. Take a short break. Notice I said short. Walk away for a day or two. Do something fun and validating. Start a new project. Read a great book. Take a walk. Dance. Breathe.

5. Keep Going. As my wise son said to me, "Mom, it's a numbers game. Keep going." I read an article about a writer who set a goals of one query a day for one year. His yes came on day 365.

6. Be kind to yourself. No judgements. Besides, there are positives and lessons you can glean from rejections. You are a writer and submission fatigue and rejections are just aspects of your journey. Enjoy the trip.

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