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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Reject Rejections

I read a sign recently: If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.

The message hit me right in the gut. For the writer, rejections come part and parcel. I hate, despise, and otherwise detest it. However, rejection is common to the writer. In fact, it’s almost glorified as some badge of honor earned only by the most persistent, and that somehow persistence alone that will get you published. You’ll hear things like, “Stephen King got twelve zillion and six rejections before he was published.”

Persistence may help but it’s excellence that will get you noticed. One well-known author said he’d seen many mediocre writers who made it into publishing simply because they refused to quit. My thought was: Why would anyone want to have mediocre work published? That’s hardly a compliment.

Excellence is hard—stinking hard. Too many aim for the middle road; it’s easier, not better.

I took a webinar from Jerry Jenkins a while back. He said something I’ll not soon forget. (I paraphrase here) He said, “Why would anyone want rejections?” The thought is that if you do your job well, hone your craft as perfectly as you can, you will be published for the right reasons. As Christian writers, it’s even more important to write with excellence.

Collecting rejections because you’re submitting inferior work is not honoring to you or to God. Work hard, become a better writer, learn about the business side of the industry, network, remain teachable, and persevere. These are the things that will get you noticed and for all the right reasons.

As I mentioned, I loathe rejection. I don’t do middle of the pack well. I also don’t give up because something’s hard. Neither should you. If you’ll provide your email address in this blog, I’ll send you a copy of the sign. If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up. But, toss your mediocrity in the trash, and submit your excellence.


Jenny Mertes said...

Well said. I've heard the same kind of comments about rejections being a badge of honor. I suppose that's true if your work is great and you just haven't hit the right agent or publisher yet, but I agree with you that mediocre work should be rejected. When I pick up a published work, I expect to receive value (e.g., a certain level of excellence) for my dollar. I've been disappointed too many times to trust that "published by a reputable publisher" equates with good writing, but it should! On the other hand, if repeated rejections mean a continuous process of honing one's writing, YES! That writer should be encouraged to continue.

Jan Cline said...

Isn't it funny how writers see rejection differently than the average person? It's something we know we must endure over and over if we stay on this journey. There is no avoiding it...except to quit writing. Great post.
Jan Cline

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