by Ashley Franklin

Rejection is an unavoidable part of a writer’s life. In fact, the more diligently we pursue our writing dreams, the more we increase our chances of being rejected. (Hey, I don’t make the rules.)

Receiving a “no” from your dream agent or editor stings. I want to tell you that it gets easier with time, but I ravenously ate a chocolate bar after receiving a couple of rejections just a few months ago. Once that passed, I had to do something that was actually useful. I took a break. It doesn’t help to think about a rejection while still emotional about it.

What I did next is something that helps me to think of a “no” as a necessary pitstop towards my final destination of a “yes”. Instead of feeling defeated from a “no”, I started looking to it for inspiration to make my manuscript even better.

Learn from it.

You’re a writer, so take notes. Make a note of the suggestions that you receive. Write them down and turn them into a checklist even if you don’t agree with them at first.

Once you have your initial list, strike out any feedback that you don’t agree with. Specifically, dismiss any feedback that completely goes against your vision for the story.

Review your manuscript, list in hand and make the appropriate revisions.

Grow from it.

Query your shiny new manuscript that was inspired from the feedback you received by the rejection.

Put the manuscript to the side. Perhaps you’ve realized that the manuscript truly wasn’t ready and you need to work more on your craft. Perhaps you’ve realized this manuscript truly wasn’t the right fit for those you queried. Either way, you’ve grown as a writer.

We all hate form rejections. “No response” rejections are even worse. While both make it more difficult to assess what you can gain from them, it’s not impossible. You can still take apart your manuscript and read it as a reader (not as a writer). Look for parts that you don’t necessarily connect with. See if the pacing drags in places. Double-check for continuity in longer works. Nobody knows your work better than you do, and nobody knows your strengths and weaknesses as a writer like you do (just be honest with yourself!). Look past the passion of your passion project and get to work!

Once you’ve gotten to intimately know the no that you’ve received, you’ll be in a better headspace that allows your creativity to flourish.

Then, you’ll be that much closer to your YES!

Ashley Franklin is a writer, mother, and adjunct college professor. She received her M.A. from the University of Delaware in English Literature, where she reaffirmed her love of writing but realized she had NO IDEA what she wanted to do about it. Ashley currently resides in Arkansas with her family. Her debut picture book, NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE, was published in 2019 by HarperCollins.

Social media savvy?  You can find Ashley on Twitter @differentashley, Instagram @ashleyfranklinwrites and Facebook at Ashley Franklin.

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