“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” – Sylvia Plath

You have to have tough skin to be a writer. To be an artist of any kind, really. Heck, everyone needs tough skin to venture into personally unchartered territory. It doesn't matter what you are pursuing, if it's new, it's daunting. I remember auditioning when I first came to Toronto. Only a few times. I didn't like the pressure of competing. I didn't have the guts. Maybe I didn't have the talent. Who knows? I'll certainly never know, because I skittered away like a frightened animal into a maelstrom of jobs.

Eventually, I grew a set. As a result, I've had some amazing experiences and a fabulous career. I discovered that if I worked hard, and stuck to it no matter the ups and downs, good things happened. My dreams unfolded. I have faith that the same applies to writing. I am working hard to improve, not just my specific stories, but my writing in general. And, I am approaching it with the same doggedness I adopted all those years ago.

Still, rejection is hard and it's tempting to put tail between legs and head into the proverbial hills. I've only sent out a handful of queries. I stopped for the reasons listed in my previous posts, but am revving up to begin again. So many of my writer peeps have almost exhausted their lists and are defeated. I am bracing myself for that, but not running. No, I am going to stand tall, keep reading, keep learning, keep writing. I'm holding to my formula: hard work + stick-to-it-ness = success. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day.

And, it's not just wishful thinking. I have proof. Check out the sampling of authors below and the rejections they endured before landing an agent or a publishing contract. Because, for those who don't know, querying to get an agent is the first gauntlet. You run a similar one with publishers after you get an agent. But I digress. Back to my belief in my formula. As you can see, it's founded on experience and definitive evidence from the field of writing. J

Cheers to all my writer friends and anyone else striving to reach a goal. We're in this together, and our time will come.


Agatha Christie was rejected for years before getting a contract.

Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times.

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen's Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected 134 times.

Stephen King's Carrie was rejected 30 times.

Kathryn Stockett's The Help was rejected 60 times.

J.K. Rowlings' Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was rejected by 12 publishers.

To read some of the defeating comments that writers have risen above, check out LitRejections.



  1. "Grow a pair." "Grow thick skin." "Keep trying." Lovely truth to this, Rose!

    1. Let's link our pinkies together and make a wish. :-)

  2. We have to keep trying. Even if I never publish I firmly feel that the only way to fail is to stop trying.

    1. I totally agree, Spesh. The thing is, the process is daunting but it doesn't have to be defeating. It's the old we can't control what happens, but we can choose how to react to it.

  3. Rose and all other (aspiring) authors who might read this, look at it this way: No one who is now considered to have written a classic (J. K. Rowling, Margaret Mitchell, etc.) hasn't been rejected. According to this, you have to be rejected at least 12 times in order to become a bestselling, multi-million dollar author ;)
    Don't give up 'til it's over and have faith in you and your writing! I do :)

  4. Nicole,

    It is always good to know one is not alone. It's even better to have cheerleaders. Thanks for always being so positive. I am at the beginning of this stage of the journey, and I remain very optimistic. It's all part of the formula. :-)