Between graduating college (May 2014) and starting my first ‘real’ writing job (March 2017), I got rejected … by many, many people.
For many, many things. Especially writing jobs.
Because it’s not formal education that qualifies you to write. It’s part of it, but often a very small part. What matters more is experience … and writing samples.
And when you don’t have either of those things … well, how are you supposed to get them?
(Hint: writing for free sucks, but it works.)
Rejection is awful. I know. Rejection after rejection after rejection can make you feel like it’s not even worth trying anymore.
Do you want to hear something important?
Rejection won’t ever stop.
But at some point, your successes will overshadow your shortcomings. Every single one of them.
I know that’s hard to believe. I mean, you worked for (days? weeks?) on that article and pitch email. And you still didn’t get picked.
Always remember one thing: sometimes, it’s not you. It’s them.
You might be a great writer. Or you’re not the best (yet), but you show great potential. It’s just that editors are looking for very specific things. If you’re not the best candidate to be able to deliver that thing, they’re just not going to pick you.
“No” does not mean “never.”
Someone, someday, will choose you. You’ll find each other at just the right time, probably by accident. Their current needs will fit your skills like puzzle pieces. You’ll answer every “have you done this before” question with “yes.” You’ll pass every test, impress every evaluator, you’ll do everything right. And they’ll say, “Okay. Come write for us. We want you.”
It might take weeks. Months. Years.
But in some capacity, it will happen.
That is, as long as you don’t give up hope. As long as you keep working as hard as you can. And on top of all that, you have to keep believing you’ll eventually get where you want to be. Because just as much as hope alone won’t get you a writing job, working without passion won’t help you reach any of your writing goals at all. You’ll just get frustrated. You won’t want to do it anymore.
Rejection is not a reason to quit. It’s a chance to improve or change direction. Or both. If you want to 100 percent guarantee that you’ll never get published, stop trying.
Your writing fits somewhere. Everyone has a place where they belong. If you haven’t found yours yet, keep looking. It’s out there.
(And if it’s not … create it yourself.)
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.