No. Denied. Pass. No matter how the “thanks, but no thanks” letter you receive from publications is worded, it still stings to know that your work has been rejected. It stings even more if you have been rejected multiple times before or if that piece was one of which you were particularly proud. Yet, rejection is an unavoidable part of every freelancer’s career, so it is essential for all freelancers to successfully get through the heartache and discouraging bouts of dismissals.
One of the most important things to recognize when you are feeling down and out over the most recent rejection of a story or pitch is that you are not alone. Hundreds of freelancers receive rejection letters every day, so you are certainly not the only person in the world who has been turned away from publications. In fact, numerous freelance writers may receive consecutive rejection notices before they finally are given the green light for something they worked on. In addition, the rejection may not even have anything to do with the quality of your work.
Publications typically reject a piece or pitch if it has already been written on, seems too similar to something the publication already published, previously granted another freelancer permission to undertake a project similar to the one you proposed, or if your piece does not fit in with the general tone of the publication. Any of these reasons could be behind the rejection you received as most publications will not disclose the reasons for their decision, so remember to not take the rejection too seriously and that there are hundreds of other freelancers who go through the exact same thing.
Yet, while you should not wallow in self-pity and become utterly discouraged from writing or pitching again, you also should allow yourself to feel bad and “grieve” for a few moments. After all, feeling heartache from rejection is actually a very normal thing – and a common physical response. When you are rejected by a peer, as is the case when an editor rejects your story, your heart rate will temporarily decelerate rapidly, according to a study conducted by the University of Amsterdam.
This means that in all human beings, rejection can actually cause the heart to briefly stop altogether, which is little wonder why receiving a “no thanks” letter can hurt so much. This explains why many new freelancers may quit after receiving a particularly devastating barrage of rejections – the physical and emotional stress may be more than they can handle. However, if you accept the feelings of sadness that accompany each rejection but then also quickly recuperate from those feelings, you will be far more ready to take on additional stories and pitches.
To keep yourself motivated, do not dwell on the fact that you were rejected, but take the opportunity to examine how you could improve your piece or pitch the next time around. If one particular idea or story keeps getting turned away, take a hard look at it and determine what could be making it inaccessible:
• Is the story too technical?
• Is the story too long?
• Is the story too broad?
Remember to also tweak your finished pieces and pitches for each new publication you encounter as every publication has a different audience and tone. However, the best way to keep yourself motivated is to just keep doing it. Keep sending out your stories and ideas because you will have a better chance of getting a project accepted this way than if you did nothing at all.
This guest post is contributed by Kate Willson, who writes on the topics of top online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: katewillson2 AT gmail DOT com.
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