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Rejection. Persistence. And something in between.

A couple other writer-editors and I have formed a support group of sorts.

It’s like one of those groups you form when you want to make sure you get to the gym and actually exercise; it’s supposed to hold us accountable and keep us motivated.
Except ours is more fun. And less sweaty. And our muscles don’t ache afterward.

The purpose of the group is to push ourselves to write and publish more widely  by sharing our contacts, experiences, and feedback.

We also talk shop about the writing life.  Earlier today, we were talking about rejection and persistence.

One of us wrote:

“I feel extremely lucky to have made the strides I have this year, but something is holding me back to making the next step. I keep making excuses, but they’re just that.”

He figured that the “something” was fear of rejection, and I agreed. If I knew all the opportunities I’ve probably lost because I never pursued them since I was afraid I’d be rejected I’d spend a good week in bed with the covers over my head.


As an editor I do a lot of rejecting. There are writers who have submitted articles a dozen times or more and though I’ve rejected every piece they’ve sent in, they persist.* They clearly don’t sit around worrying what I’ll think of them if they submit another article and they’re not afraid of being rejected (again)… so why am I?


It was only recently I realized this, but it helps.

*It should be noted that this type of persistence is only good and useful if the writer is taking feedback, working on improving his or her skills, and taking a close look at whether his or her writing matches our publication. Otherwise, it’s not persistence: it’s a remarkable expression of one’s lack of self-awareness.


6 responses »

  1. Having a support group in an otherwise lonely venture can do wonders in advancing a writing career. I struggle to find people who will push me to go the extra step and provide truly raw feedback ~ this isn’t a soft career ~ I need a boot camp to push myself that extra mile. Luckily, though I don’t always have the people I need to push myself to take risks with my writing, there are other external forces that I use to keep moving forward. You are very lucky to have such a supportive group of talented writers encouraging you in your work. Hopefully those extra laps around the track will be exactly what you need to propel yourself to the next level.

    Thanks for starting such a thought-provoking and interesting blog, Julie. I look forward to your posts.

    • Thanks, JoAnna-

      I’d be happy to help push you! 😉 Anytime you want any feedback or support, just let me know. Having another perspective helps enormously!

  2. good post julie. sometimes i wonder why people keep submitting the same work after being rejected so many times without listening to feedback.

    how many other writing markets are out there for them to try?

    to me they’re trying just ‘to publish’ instead of trying to write.

    i get stuck in the same pattern sometimes too though.

    last night i was looking at my archives. so many raw unedited notes.

    i think of how many hours it took writing all that stuff.

    and how much more it would take to edit it, find a good market for it, send it out.

    i tried last night for a couple hours. felt like i was moving upstream.

    • David- Absolutely. There’s a really critical distinction that has to be drawn by the people who are submitting over and over again trying (futilely) to get published.
      But there are also the people–and they’re who I’m really talking about here–who are asking for feedback, applying it, and they’re not afraid to keep putting themselves out there.

      So what does that say for those of us who’ve been holding back from putting ourselves out there?

      • overbusy to get the work in a form that’s ‘ready’? fear of rejection?

        old zen saying: when the student is ready the master appears.

        i have no idea how this applies to the convo but it seems to fit for some reason.

        kind of tweaked after just publishing 9/11 work, including yours and thinking about things that ‘matter’ vs ‘other things.’

        thinking about Sarah Shroud this morning.

  3. Waltzes over to pitch another story to The Traveler’s Notebook *grin*


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