Nobody likes being rejected. Especially when you’ve spent hours, weeks, months (or even years, if it’s a novel) writing something.
To many writers, particularly novices, rejection is not good. And if something is not good, then we stop doing it. That way, we won’t be rejected anymore.
There are some writers who refuse to submit any of their work to publishers, magazine markets or competitions, because that way, they won’t be rejected. Why put yourself forward to ensure that pain, because every writer gets rejected, right? Right.
But the only way to become a published writer is to send our work to a publisher, magazine, or competition (or self-publish it and wait for the feedback/criticism). We can’t have the glory without risking the pain.
In reality, as writers, we need to embrace rejection for three reasons:
- Rejection means we had the guts to send out work out into the big wide world. We didn’t protect ourselves from the potential of having our dreams shattered. We girded our loins, and we clicked Send.
- Rejection means we’re willing to learn. Why didn’t a piece work for a particular market? Where did we go wrong? Was it the wrong readership, or did we get our timing wrong? Every rejection is a learning opportunity. (Just think how much James Dyson learned on those 5,126 times he failed to create his bagless vacuum cleaner.)
- Rejection also means we’ve actually produced something in the first place to send off. You can’t be a rejected writer if you haven’t written anything! (One would question whether you could call yourself a writer if you have written nothing.) All those writers who spend every moment of free time writing their novel and create something with a beginning, middle, and end have achieved something many people dream of doing, but give up, because they suddenly discover how hard it really is. (I’ve got to write what …100,000 words? You’ve got to be kidding!)
So being rejected means that not only have you actually written something in the first place (which entitled you to call yourself a writer), you’ve also had the guts to send it off. And it also means that, ultimately, you’re prepared for rejection too. Because you know there’s a risk your submission may not be successful on this occasion.
But rejection is not the end of the road. Rejection is just part of the success story. My first book was rejected four times. But I didn’t let that stop me. For me, it was fifth time lucky. (And luck only happens when preparation meets opportunity, so the rejection was only part of the necessary preparation.) It’s since sold over 272,000 copies and is available in four different languages.
And that’s what the second edition of The Positively Productive Writer is all about. It’s about understanding where you are on your writing journey. It’s about twisting all those negative moments and looking at them again from a positive angle. It’s about changing our mindset.
If we want to turn our creative dreams into writing reality, we can’t let negative emotions overcome us. (Or rather, we can’t let them overcome us for too long. There’s nothing wrong with licking our wounds, but the sooner we crack on, the better.)
As writers, we’re learning all the time. And I’ve learned so much since the first edition of The Positively Productive Writer was published. I now have a better understanding of how Impostor Syndrome affects me. I’m much better at spotting the early symptoms of comparisonitis and know what steps I need to take to avoid a full-blown infection. I also understand how those internal stories we all tell ourselves can affect our mindset.
So I had to share my learning of all of this in the all-new second edition of the book. Not only that, but I’ve also included extra tips for improving your productivity through better time management. By implementing the maker/manager time zoning technique, I’m much more focussed on my work.
In fact, the second edition has an extra 40% positivity in it, compared with the first edition.
If you want to turn your creative dreams into writing reality, then you need to embrace rejection and be a positively productive writer.