How can I deal with rejection?



Dear Literary Ladies,
I know that rejection is part of a writer's life, but every time something I've submitted gets turned down, I just feel crushed. How did you learn to cope with it, and not take it personally?


After leaving Prince of Wales College I taught school for a year in Bideford, Prince Edward Island. I wrote a good deal and learned a good deal, but my stuff came back except from two periodicals the editors of which evidently thought that literature was its own reward, and quite independent of monetary considerations. I often wonder that I did not give up in utter discouragement. At first I used to feel dreadfully hurt when a story or poem over which I had laboured and agonized came back, with one of those icy little rejection slips. Tears of disappointment would come in spite of myself, as I crept away to hide the poor, crimpled manuscript in the depths of my trunk. But after a while I got hardened to it and did not mind. I only set my teeth and said, “I will succeed.” I believed in myself and I struggled on alone, in secrecy and silence. I never told my ambitions and efforts and failures to any one. Down, deep down, under all discouragements and rebuff I knew I would “arrive” some day.

—L.M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables), The Alpine Path, 1917

2 comments:

Melissa Marsh June 23, 2009 at 10:34 AM  

I love this. Wow. And look at how well she succeeded!

Ricki June 25, 2009 at 9:52 AM  

Just wanted to comment to let you know how much I'm enjoying these questions and "answers"! As an English and Liberal Studies professor and freelance writer, I can relate to virtually every question posed and am so heartened to read the responses, knowing that so many of our most successful and admired women writers experienced the same self-doubts, difficulties, or challenges. Thanks for these--and keep them coming!

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Wouldn't you love to get advice from  classic women authors on writing and the writer's life? Here I fancifully pose the questions, and the Literary Ladies answer in their own words.

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