No matter how many times it happens, it never gets easier.

Rejection. It’s hard. Duh.

Any writer will tell you that.

You see a response from a query to an agent or publisher in your inbox. Your heart starts to beat so hard it becomes a vibration in your chest. An internal earthquake of anticipation.

You pause. It’s that moment. You want to open the email and read it. But you also don’t. You’ve been living in the limbo of hope for weeks or months and prolonging it means a few more seconds where it might be a yes. A few more seconds where future you might leap with joy and run upstairs to tell your family “someone liked it!”

JK Rowling rejectionBut, it’s a no. It’s almost always a no. And no amount of people telling you “So and so famous writer got rejected 50 times” will help.

It’s a no. It’s a rejection. It’s soul crushing. Every. Time.

Next comes the dizzy swirl of self-doubt, which feels a lot like crying without tears. Its heavy weight wraps around your ankles, shackles you thought you’d shaken off from years of rejection. You haven’t. You just got really good at ignoring them.

It’s those old fears telling you, you’re not good enough. That encouragement you got from your parents and professors was a fluke. Everyone’s parents love their children’s writing. The writing contest you won must have been because they had very poor submissions. That first book you wrote, which some obviously temporarily insane publisher liked, sold terribly. What more proof do you need?

Here is the additional unnecessary proof: You’ve just read the wonderful Pulitzer Winning book, Less, and your writing seems like Kindergarten scribbles on construction paper by comparison.

No wonder you got rejected again.

Rejection is hard. Duh.

rejection quoteAnd how long will it take for the shackles to turn invisible again? For the tightness in your throat trying to squeeze out tears to leave?

How long will it take before every word you write doesn’t seem like a cosmic joke you’re not in on? Before you stop wondering “why do I bother?”

Sometimes hours. Sometimes days. Sometimes more.

But it does fade. And you try again. Because you’re a writer. It’s what you do. You open up that notebook and you write.

Not doing it, would be like not breathing.

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