By Lucy Ivey
What can I say about rejection?
Well, a lot of things. It’s unexpected. It hurts. It’s embarrassing. It makes you angry and confused. It makes you question what you’ve done, who you are as a writer and if you’re good enough. But the most important thing I can tell you about rejection is to expect it. Why? One reason: It. Will. Happen. Whether it comes from literary agents, editors or publishers, readers or critics—somebody, somewhere, at some time will not like what you have written. They won’t understand or they’ll disagree. Whatever their reason, it is okay. Don’t let it stop you!
As a writer, I have been rejected many (MANY!) times. In those moments, I felt disappointed, embarrassed, confused, sad, angry… I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” “Am I good enough?” “What if nobody ever likes what I’ve written?” I even thought about quitting a time or two (or ten) because of the rejections I received. It was hard not to quit. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I hope none of you do either.
You need to remember, rejection is not necessarily a bad thing. One of my favorite quotes states, “As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” Think about that. Think about a time when you were told no and you didn’t give up. Hopefully, the statement above holds true. Hopefully, you were lead to something better than your original plan. I encourage all of you to look at rejection this way. Every time someone says no, find strength and redirection to move forward.
I think as writers rejection hurts so badly because we write about what we know. Every time we put our pens to paper (or our finger tips to keys) it’s personal. We pour every piece of who we are into our words and we walk away feeling equally satisfied and vulnerable with what we’ve done. So when we’re rejected, it throws us off balance! Suddenly, our feelings of satisfaction become feelings of doubt and our feelings of vulnerability are greater. It’s a scary moment. We want nothing more than the fear to go away… but it never really does. It’s always there. In the back of our minds with every following submission. So why do we keep putting ourselves through this? Again, there is one reason: We. Love. What. We. Do.
Rejection is the unexpected, painful, embarrassing, kick in the gut that you never forget. You’ll get angry, confused, and question everything about yourself and why it happened to you… but hopefully, you will also learn from it.
There is no doubt, rejection will happen. Trust me.
It will hurt. Trust me.
Don’t let it stop you. Trust me.
Most importantly, trust in yourself.
Lucy Ivey is a chocolate cupcake eating, purple polish wearing, scary movie watching school counselor who loves to write. She grew up in Cincinnati and currently lives with her family near the sweet-smelling town of Hershey, Pennsylvania. Although she began writing stories during her teenage years, it wasn’t until years later that she completed her first novel. Lucy is thankful for the two decades between start and finish because she credits the inspirations for her characters and plots from the experiences and people throughout her roller-coaster of a ride she calls life.
The Game He Plays is her NA debut fiction novel. The Game follows nineteen-year-old Karley Woods after she moves in with her newly married mother, stepfather and his two sons. She quickly falls for one, while desperately trying to avoid the other. When the push and pull of their three lives collide, she soon learns who each brother truly is and just how far both of them will go to protect what they love (Bloomsbury Spark, 2015).