Rejection is not a four-letter word via christineknight.me

Ahhhh rejection, I know you well. We have been close friends for many years now. It’s only in recent times, however, that I’ve learned to stop taking it personally when my ideas are met with a rebuff, or, worse, no response at all.

One of the lovely bloggers in my Aussie Parenting Bloggers Facebook group recently posted that she was feeling down after being rejected a lot, and it made my heart hurt for her. Rejection sucks! It really does. Particularly for a creative person like a writer, when what you’re pitching is really yourself and ideas. Rejection can feel like a stab through the heart – it’s sending a message that you and your words are not good enough.

After a few emails that all have the same generic Dear John “thanks but no thanks” reply to requests for freelance assignments, it’s hard to keep self confidence up.

Maintaining confidence is one of the hardest things about being a freelance anything. Self belief in the face of constantly being told “no, you’re not right for us”. Ouch. It hurts.

I’ve been writing as a freelancer now for about three years. I’ve had more rejection emails than I can count – and I’ve lost track of the number of inquiries I’ve put out there that haven’t been responded to.

I want every other writer just starting out to know that you are not alone. We all face rejection (I get rejected daily. Honestly.).

Each rejection is one step closer to an acceptance. You have to keep trying and putting yourself out there and, as hard as it is, not take rejection personally.

When you get a rejection email (or worse, no response), repeat to yourself, “It’s not about me”. Because it’s not about you. Whatever you were pitching wasn’t a good fit for the publication or the editor was too busy to respond. Neither of these mean that the quality of your ideas or words isn’t good enough to be published.

Everyone who has made anything of themselves has faced similar rejection at some stage. The wonderful children’s author Mem Fox told me in an interview last year that her famous book, Possum Magic, was rejected by published 10 TIMES before it was accepted and published. Just let that sink in.

If Mem had given up after the first few rejections we would not have one of the most famous Australian children’s books ever written.

The next time you get a rejection, remember it’s not you, it’s them. Remember Mem Fox, and have the courage to keep on trying.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!
  • Hello there, I do think that it’s totally NOT ON to completely ignore pitches and it makes me feel very annoyed…. so rude. How hard is it to flick and auto response back? But that’s part of writing life, you have to move on. Personal contacts are so, so , so worthwhile and worth working on… must get out and about more.

    • Hi Seana, I totally agree – it’s unbelievably ride to not respond when someone has put themselves out there like that, especially! So bad. How hard is even a copied and pasted response if they really can’t be assed replying personally?! It’s so hard some days to keep on going.

  • Sounds like you have a resilient attitude – I’m sure people will appreciate your pep talk.

    • Thank you Kathy – I hope it helps people to stick with it! I have resilient days and also days when I feel like giving up. A lot of rejection makes it easier to take!

  • Good tips to keep in mind. Sometimes it’s hard after you get rejected time and again but yeah, giving up never helped anyone either.

  • vegeTARAian

    Thank you Christine, this is EVERYTHING I needed to hear right now. x