October 15, 2015

Grateful For Rejection - Again by Tracy Krauss


This month we are encouraged to write about a difficult experience that taught us to be grateful. I can think of tons. The 'refiner's fire' is one of the best ways - if not THE best way - to grow as a Christian and as a human being. God has used many difficult experiences to teach me during my life's journey, and I know He's done the same for you.

I can't help but think of a writing example which became one of my submissions to Inscribe's new anthology 7 Essential Habits Of Christian Writers. It is called "Embrace Rejection" and I think it embodies what this month's topic is all about. In it, I talk about my many years of submitting manuscripts to agents and publishers only to be rejected over and over again. Through those disappointments, I learned a lot of valuable things about what not to do which continue to benefit me as I grow as a writer.

"Rejection makes you a better writer because it forces you from the fantasyland of your own imagination into the real world of readers. It yanks you out of the cushioned bubble of friends and family, where everyone loves what you’ve written because… well, because you wrote it. The good news is that rejection will make you stronger. I know you’ve heard it before, but it’s true. Criticism, especially when it’s constructive, is a fantastic teacher." (7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers, location 1337) 

For those who have read the anthology, you may recall that I submitted more than a hundred different queries over several years. Most were unanswered, several received polite rejection letters with no explanation, even less received rejections that at least explained where I could do better, and three - yes THREE - were positive requests for more.

This early rejection helped me in many ways:

1. First, it helped me become a better writer. If that many people felt my manuscript needed work, then they were probably on to something.

2. Second, it opened my eyes to targeting the right audience for my work. One size doesn't fit all, no matter what we want to believe.

3. Third, it showed me that writing was more than a hobby. I mean, seriously! Who would keep exposing themselves to that kind of hurt if it wasn't something they felt called to do?

4. Fourth, it made me tough. Not everyone is going to love what I write and I'm okay with that. 

5. Fifth, and perhaps most important of all, it made me understand that I am not synonymous with my writing. A rejection of something I've written is NOT the same as a personal rejection of ME as a person.

You can read the entire article in 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers.  Just remember that rejection is part of the writing life, so get used to it. Embrace it. Learn from it. And carry on.

Tracy Krauss writes from her home in northern British Columbia. Since those early days of rejection, she has gone on to see several best selling and award winning novels published as well as multiple stage plays, non-fiction books, and an illustrated children's book. Website: tracykrauss.com

8 comments:

  1. I agree that #5 is so important! We are not rejection. Thanks for sharing. Your tenacity is inspiring!

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  2. We hear often how we should not be upset by rejection, but this list of how rejection is part of growing us as good writers takes it to another level. Everything is useful if we allow it to be. Thx for sharing!

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  3. I think #5 is especially important because it's easy to take criticism personally when it is not necessarily meant that way.

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  4. Thanks for the brutal honesty spoken from your experience. Like I quoted in my email this morning, "Scar tissue is the strongest tissue in the body." And a tangible reminder when talking about rejections. I like what you say at the end: "...get used to it. Embrace it. Learn from it. And carry on." So true.

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  5. You are such an accomplished writer now--awards, several novels, workshop presentations, plays, confidence. Who knew, Tracy. Thanks for sharing this important message for all of us.

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  6. Thanks for reminding us that even rejection is useful to us as writers. None of us enjoy those rejections, but if we can learn from them, improve, and move on, then everyone benefits - including our readers!

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  7. Thank you Tracy, Great points, and I too connect well with number five, and the advice to Embrace it, learn from it! Excellent wise words.

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  8. I think society today tells us that we're all winners and we are all strong and incredible and we can do it all, so rejection isn't a very "popular" experience. But as you remind us, it is realistic and useful, especially because we are walking our lives with a wise and loving God who can use it for good.

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