Friday Speak Out! Rejection: It’s Cause for Celebration, Guest post by Sioux Roslawski

Friday, June 07, 2013
Why are some writers reluctant to shout from the rooftops, “I got a rejection!” and yet we hear all about the pieces they get published? Why do some writers write post after post about the pieces they’ve submitted, and they tell their success stories to all their writing colleagues but when it comes to the notes of “Thanks, but no,” we hear nary a word? Why is that?

Now, I’m overly fond of self-denigrating humor. It’s my snarky trademark. I figure, if I can make a joke about myself, it prevents dozens of others from making fun of me. And really, I’m happy to provide bits of levity. Everybody needs to laugh more…

So when I recently got a rejection note the day after I sent in a piece, I had to smile wryly. Instead of giving credit to the editors’ impeccable time management skills, I blamed how much my story stunk. My story stinks so bad, they burned rubber to avoid the stench. Now in reality, I am going to hang onto this piece. It didn’t fit the anthology, but it survived a critique session, so I’ll resubmit it to another publisher/editor someday.

But being rejected is a reason to be proud. It means we’re sending things off. It means we’re talking the talk and walking the walk. It means we’re living the life of a writer…

In early January, a writing friend summed up the previous year via a blog post. She tallied up the pieces she had submitted, and noted the successes and the failures. It was way better than the “year in review” shows they do on the television, since this one spurred me into action. Because of Donna Volkenannt, I now keep a writing planner.

When I send off something, I jot down the title, where I submitted it, and a short note to jog my memory. (For example, if it’s a story for the Not Your Mother’s Book series and it’s a cat story and I have several cat stories under consideration, I might note, “when Elmo escaped.”) If the publisher gives a timeline, I jot that down as well, so I know that if I’ve heard nothing at a certain point, I can then inquire as to the status of my submission.

Upon hearing, I note either when it will be published or that it was “rejected,” which means I can tinker—if necessary—and resubmit when another call for submissions comes along.

The use of a planner also allows me to tell, at a glance, if it’s been a while since I sent off something. Too many blank days with no notation means I need to get my rear in gear.

So, when you get your next rejection, rejoice. Celebrate. Being told “no thanks” means you said “yes” to being a writer…and being a writer is definitely cause for revelry…

* * *
Sioux Roslawski is a third grade teacher by day and a freelance writer by night. On the weekends, she rescues dogs for Love a Golden Rescue. Her stories can be found in several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies and several books in the Not Your Mother’s Book series as well as other collections and magazines. When the hot flashes hit (hourly) she uses her rejection letters to fan herself. Her musings can be found at

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Unknown said...

Oh Soiux, I had the 24-hour turn around rejection just recently too, for an anthology. It was the single, fastest NO! I've ever received. It obviously didn't meet their all.

Rejections used to really pierce me, but ya know, you get enough and they don't sting as much. ;)

I have a bulletin board of index cards of each submission I make or query I send. I mark the date,website if appropriate, and outline a few dates and terms. When they get accepted, I mark an A in red. If rejected, they get the R in red. I have quite a few Rs, but I have a couple As too. Those keep me going.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Julie--I'd love if you'd email me at and we can wallow in self-pity together...and see if it was the same anthology.

I like that both the Rs and the As are in red...That way they both stand out.

Yes, anything that keeps us going...

D.E. Malone said...

I'm long past the point of feeling defeated by rejections. To me, a rejection is acknowledgement of the fact that I'm still writing and unwilling to give up. Happy writing!

BECKY said...

I agree....we can't be rejected if we're not even submitting our writing. I liken it to the Lottery motto: You can't win if you don't play! I'm very curious too about yours and Julie's rejections. Sounds like it just might be the same place!!

Margo Dill said...

I recently got a rejection!YAY! From an agent! Double yay! That I met a conference and requested the manuscript--TRIPLE YAY!

Thank you for reminding me to be optimistic. :)

Linda O'Connell said...

This post is relevant to all writers. Rejections are proof positive that you are writing. Great post.

Crystal Otto said...


This was so well written and the exact topic of conversation with my writer friends a few days ago. Thank you for explaining this so eloquently.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Dawn--You are sooo right. Rejection should just make us stronger.

Becky--Hmmm. That does sound like a strange coincidence, doesn't it!

Margo--I think every successful writer could wallpaper their office with rejection letters. Congratulations on walking the walk of a writer.

Linda--You are right. And thanks.

Crystal--We writers need to encourage and support each other. Thank you.

Eugenia Parrish said...

When I first started sending stories to magazines (long,long ago in a galaxy far, far away) I was heartbroken every time I got the form rejection. And yet . . . and yet there was something inside me that said, "Wow, looka that -- I'm a real writer." My friends were baffled that I took rejection so calmly, but they weren't writers -- they didn't understand. I'd read so many anecdotes from famous authors sharing their rejections that I felt a box full of those babies had to mean I was moving in the right direction. Maybe I was wrong to be encouraged by a form letter, but I always believed that if it really, really stunk, they wouldn't have even bothered to stuff it in the SASE and throw it in their outbox. The first time I got a scribbled "Sorry!" on the form letter was a major step up. I still have that one somewhere, tucked away like a pressed corsage from a forgotten date.

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