Shelley Widhalm

Rejection Queen

In 52: A Writer's Life, Rejection, Revising, Shelley Widhalm, Writing on April 21, 2013 at 11:00 am

Every time I get rejected from a short story, poetry or book contest or anything else having to do with writing, I have to pout.

I start with the thought that I’m a pro at rejection, a skill I learned as an elementary school student not able to fit in socially. I was the awkward geeky girl who stood outside the girl groups, barely fitting in.

My next thought, at least with my latest rejection from a writing contest, was that if I had actually won, I would have had to wonder if there was something wrong with the contest, because, as evidenced by past experiences, I don’t win.

At the same time, I believed I should have won (there weren’t very many entries), because I’ve been told that I’m a good writer and, likewise, believe that I’m a good writer. I write because of that belief and because I have to write.

But why if I’m “a good writer” am I still a collector of rejection slips?

My latest rejection slip I realize had merit because I submitted a book manuscript for “The Fire Painter” before I had finished the revision process. A couple days later, I received a critique form explaining the areas where to strengthen my manuscript, taking out some of the sting.

Following the pouting phase, I had to go through some ego bandaging. I had to get back up and try again at this writing thing.

Though I do wonder:

* Am I crazy spending my free time writing when I could be living?
* Am I crazy thinking I’m a great writer when I have evidence of rejection?
* Am I crazy for pursuing something that is like spinning in a circle of nowhereness when
I could be going forward on something else?

Whether I am or not, I’m writing again.

Hopefully next time, I’ll throw my arms out to welcome rejection as part of the process.

  1. It’s much easier said than done, but don’t take it personally, and don’t give up writing. Rejections happen for all sorts of reasons. Often the editor loves the work, but it’s just not right for them at the time you submit. You’re right – rejection is part of a writer’s life, but it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

  2. […] Rejection Queen ( […]

  3. […] Rejection Queen ( […]

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