How To Handle Rejection As A Writer (Or How Not To Curl Up In A Fetal Position And Eat Copious Amounts of Chocolate)

jaws4242Tips & Tricks25 Comments

Syndicated from Writing, Wishing by Alison Lee

How To Handle Rejection As A Writer  (Or How Not To Curl Up In  Fetal Position And Eat Copious Amounts of Chocolate) - Guest Post By Alison Lee

It’s hard to be a writer. It’s harder to be a writer who wants to make money from writing. And it’s really, really hard to put yourself out there and ask for a writing job.

You plan the perfect pitch in your head. You run it by a few trusted people. You write and rewrite your pitch. You sit on it for a few days to make sure that it feels right. You send your pitch and you wait.

And wait.

You hear nothing back after a week, so you do the right thing and send a polite follow up email.

And you get this – “Thank you for your submission, but it’s not the right fit for us.”

Period. The end. No other explanation. You look at the rest of their site and think that what you were offering was absolutely the perfect fit. You doubt yourself. You suffer a blow to your confidence. Again. You shout, “Can’t I catch a freaking break??”

You will want to curl up in a fetal position and eat copious amounts of chocolate (or whatever ‘bad’ food makes you feel better). Don’t. There are better ways to handle rejection.

How To Handle Rejection As A Writer (Or How Not To Curl Up In A Fetal Position And Eat Copious Amounts of Chocolate)




1. Cry. Yes, let it out. You’ll feel a smidgen better. Just a smidgen. You’ll still want to hit something.

2. Hit something. Preferably something inanimate, but soft. Like a pillow. Yes, hit a pillow.

3. Swear. Loudly and profusely. Preferably out of the earshot of children.

4. Tell someone. Like I did. (“I was *splutter* rejected *sob*. Why *sob* would *sob* they *sob* not *sob* l-l-l-o-v-e me *sob*?)

RELATED: Rejected!  8 Things To Do With Your Submission If It Gets Turned Down

5. Tell two more people. Preferably one who will say, “I never liked <the rejector> anyway, and I like them even less now!”. Then ask her to marry you.

6. Eat chocolate. But sitting up. Not curled up in a fetal position.

7. Bake something, preferably something you are really good at, so as to feel a sense of achievement. Make sure your family members get a slice so they can tell you how awesome you are.

8. Do something you love. Like, watch TV. What?

9. Write a post about how to handle rejection. Inject some humor into it because you really need to laugh.

10. Go out there and try again. Someone will think YOU are awesome and the right fit. Also? Be grateful for the opportunities that have come your way.

RELATED: Overcoming Rejection Paralysis

RELATED: Getting Rejections Is A Good Thing!

Avatar2013Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison shares stories of motherhood on her blog, Writing, Wishing, and her writing has been featured on Everyday Family, Mamalode, Scary Mommy,,, and The Huffington Post. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins). You can find Alison on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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25 Comments on “How To Handle Rejection As A Writer (Or How Not To Curl Up In A Fetal Position And Eat Copious Amounts of Chocolate)”

  1. Ha! Oh, Alison- you nailed it girl!!! We just gotta believe there is a ‘good fit’ for us somewhere… even when we get rejected!!

    I have had that exact same experience, where I think “Really? I’m not A GOOD FIT? Huh.” SO hard to understand without an explanation… I wish there was more insight for us to go on. Sigh…

  2. I am in utter shock that anyone would reject your writing but happy because it resulted in this great post!!! Thank you for this and for the intro to this site.

  3. I think this is great advice for ANY type of rejection or coping with plans that didn’t work out the way we hoped. Crying, friends, baking, chocolate, and TV sound like my preferred techniques, anyway. And yes, getting up and out there again is so important too.

  4. Good advice here! I shared it on my writing advice Twitter (@TrendingTitles) and pinned it. It’s so important to remember tips like these. I keep a small bag of “rejection M&Ms” and eat one when a rejection email comes through.

  5. Rejection is hard and cracking the code is challenging and sometimes I really don’t know if I’ve got what it takes, but for every no, I believe there is a yes. And there is always chocolate!!

    Great tips, Alison!

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  7. How do I love this? Let me count the ways!
    1. I love that it accepts (not rejects!) virtually all ways to handle a rejection.
    2. It recommends eating chocolate and then directly after eating that, you it encourages you to bake something (preferably more chocolate!) And then it acknowledges the tendency to eat the whole thing yourself, so it gently invites you to share what you’ve baked because it will benefit you in the end. Right!
    3. It uses the word “smidgen” which is an exact measurement for people with OCD.
    4. It ends with a nice reminder to be grateful, something we can never get enough nudges to be.

    Really fun piece, Alison!

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