How to Handle Rejection

I’ve been writing about submitting your writing, and I can’t do that without handling the tough part–rejection.


Every writer, even the most famous, already-published writer, faces rejection at some point or other. The trick is to not really care anything about it.

For me, I submit and forget.

I keep track of my submissions in my previously mentioned excel file, then I don’t think about it at all. I don’t think about deadlines, I don’t stalk the magazine, I don’t think about their typical (and mythical) response time.

Most magazines will not respond as quickly as they say they will (Except the Threepenny review–Lord have mercy, they are quick!), so if you are looking at typical response times, you’ll just drive yourself crazy waiting for a response.

Don’t look at submittable and get excited when your submission changes status–I’ve had submissions sit in the “under review” status for upwards of a YEAR before.

Really, I promise, the best thing to do is to send in your work and don’t think a single thing about it ever again, until you get the response.

If you get a rejection, don’t take it personally–editors change, tastes change, issues change. Maybe your poem was bad–maybe it truly just didn’t fit the issue.

Usually when I get a rejection (which is often), I look over the poems that got rejected and do some quick edits, then I send them back out. I don’t let it get me down–magazines and publishers can’t accept everybody.

I guess the main point of all this is to say, don’t take rejection personally. I know your writing is personal–it may feel like your heart wrung out on a page (my Kit poems are especially that), but you MUST detach a bit to be able to edit and revise anyway.

And even if the poem is bad and gets rejected by everyone? Just write another one. It isn’t the end of the world!


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