When Losing Feels Like Winning #authortoolbox

I had my favorite kind of win this week, but it’s a strange one.

I submitted to #authormentormatch, provided my full MS and synopsis, *really* got my hopes up, and . . . wasn’t chosen. It happens. Usually, it’s no big deal.

I tried to hold my breath till I got feedback, but—this time—rejection slammed into me full forcegiphy.

(Read: the emotional impact of “losing” hit me Hard from all different angles).

Luckily, I knew feedback would come, and it was time to let the months of rejection process through tears.

Plus this. Because self care. chocolate-hazelnut-espresso-martini

I took time to recover, to open myself fully to what I could learn from losing. I wallowed and wept.

I troubled my poor husband way past his bed time.

The idea of quitting, or even taking a break, arose. Writing hurt so much, brought me so low.

But it was like that moment in Star Trek: First Contact, when Data is offered the choice to betray Starfleet to become human.

Lieutenant Commander Data: [about the Borg Queen] She brought me closer to humanity than I ever thought possible. And for a time, I was tempted by her offer.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: How long a time?

Lieutenant Commander Data: 0.68 seconds sir. For an android, that is nearly an eternity.

–from IMDB

I considered it for 0.68 seconds. I’m no Data, but that’s all that thought needed.

I love writing too much. Even if I tried to quit or take a break, it would hurt too, plus I’d fail, because . . .

I love it too much.

Lesson: I knew exactly how much it means to me that I make my story WORK. 

So I turned my attention to another WIP, one I’m insanely excited about as well, and lost myself in the work.

When I received the feedback last night, it was a happy surprise. A full beta read+ a two-page critique/reader response. Something clicked. Then a lot of things clicked.

I learned something about my craft, not just my story. Because I was so open, so vulnerable, I was ready to see the bigger picture. And because this community is so wondrous and personal, with people giving and sharing with each other, I found my way forward.

Lightning struck; I built a plan, and today I’ll design the schedule to get it done.

I am so grateful to my newest reader, and to all the readers who’ve helped me grow as I have in the thing I love, as precious to me as air.

Y’all. Even the tears feel good in hindsight.

This is what 90% of “the writer’s life” will always be. We’ll write and share, edit and revise, listen and learn, because the rejections will mount forever. For every yes there may be a thousand nos.

Still, I love it.

I’d love to hear how other authors soldier on through rejection. What gets you through it?



  1. H.E. Ebel says:

    Rejection is so hard, and in the writing industry, writers experience a lot of it. I’ve received a lot of rejections myself and have had to figure out a way to cope that was good for my mental health. Some rejections are no big deal, but then you get the one that really hurts – the one from that dream agent, or the one that you thought for sure was going be a yes – those are the ones where you have to step back and take a deep breath. That feedback you got sounds awesome! Good luck with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. emaginette says:

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I wallow in it for a while then move on. I won’t deny my feelings get hurt. The thing is all authors, great or small, have been rejected. We are bonded through our action.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Louise@DragonspireUK says:

    Rejection can sting, but there’s nothing like writing 🙂
    I eat lots of junk food, take a break (bury myself in another WIP), cry a bit, and then after the initial sting has faded, assess my options. Since I quit paid employment to become a writer, there have been two or three times I’ve nearly quit and looked for a paying job instead. Each time so far, I’ve been reminded of how much I enjoy writing. There are so many ups and downs with writing, but it’s worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. M. C. Frye says:

    I’m glad you got useful feedback that sparked you to create a new plan! I look forward to hearing how things go from here with your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. M.L. Keller says:

    I spent a year addicted to contests. I always learned a lot. They are great places to connect with other writers and get some great feedback. So everyone wins!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hoda says:

    Rejection is hard and you’re right that it never stops being part of a writer’s life. I love how you put a positive spin on this. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We all go through this. It does get easier (ha ha). I do believe we all need help from others when creating our story. I try to self-edit as best I can before sharing my WIP, then I only share with trusted readers. The ones who will read the entire story and give honest feedback. There’s nothing helpful about a beta reader who says, “I like it.” What does that even mean? I like my beta readers who are hard on me 🙂 in a nice way.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. lyndleloo says:

    I’m yet to query literary agents or enter any pitch competitions, I’m about to send my entire MS out to betas, a few having read the first three chapters and enjoyed them, so I’ve got all of this to come! I hope I’ll be able to take comments as constructive criticism rather than taking it all personally, but I’m a sensitive soul so we shall see… well done for turning it into a positive!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ll beta read for you. I’ve been writing for 18 years and know a thing or two (as the Farmer’s Insurance ads say). I can give you a review with whatever type of feedback you wish.
    Don’t let rejection stop your efforts. You have to grow a thick skin to be a writer.
    PM me if you want me to read something.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. awshannonauthor says:

    As a long time “trekkie” I even heard your quote in Data’s voice. I’m the same. There’s no question I will write but there are times when I need to tell myself that if I needed to stop I could. Give myself permission to take a break or stop, even when I choose not to.
    I’m glad you found peace in your rejection. It’s so nice when they’re helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. lupa08 says:

    Sounds spiritual. I get it. Because writing to me is spiritual, each piece prompted by a question, the process a quest, and answers are derived from many different sources. I’m glad you feel better 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds familiar, and it’s helpful to know I’m not the only one who goes through this. I think that after all of these online writing competitions, we should set up support groups and schedule a big cry party. I’ll bring the chocolate-covered raisins and wine.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Love love love this post, and I’m so glad you’re powering through! I deal with rejection by not putting myself in a position to get rejected in the first place…i.e., I don’t put my writing out there enough. I’m trying to change that, and one of my goals for this year is to get back into the habit of submitting to literary magazines. I’m actually looking forward to rejections, because it means that I tried!

    Best of luck with writing, and thank you so much for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You have the exact attitude you need to “make it” one day. If you can see the forest through the trees, and if you can set aside your pain (albeit after a martini binge and protracted weeping) and hone in on the feedback and improving your craft, then you’re set. Every word from now on is just another step forward. You got this! Keep up the inspiring work!

    My post: http://wp.me/p7eeNm-1KB

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dianna Gunn says:

    Dealing with rejection is tough, but it’s something we all have to deal with, both before and after publication. I usually celebrate my rejections, and sometimes make a celebratory/commiseration post on social media.

    That said, it’s been relatively easy for me because I’m lucky enough to get a high percentage of rejections that actually come with specific feedback. Then I can jump right into making my story better!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. JM Sullivan says:

    This is so great! I love how you soldiered on even through the disappointment! (Also, the Star Trek references XD ) So happy you received happy news in the end! Keep up the great work!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Shah Wharton says:

    This is exactly a writer’s life. You are not alone! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The thing that gets me through rejection is remembering how many time The Greats like Stephen King, Madeline L’Engle, Dr. Seuss and others I admire were rejected. Literature is an art, so opinion of it is subjective… keeping that in mind keeps me going.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Jess! I’ve nominated you for the Liebster blogging award. Here are the details: https://raimeygallant.com/2017/07/12/imablogstar/ You’ll have to scroll down past the bit where I accept my nominations to find your name with a brief write-up about you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. LHauser27 says:

    Hi! The rejections do mount lol! Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. jcurtis618 says:

    What a great post!!! You are so right about the air in the balloon deflated feeling that comes with each rejection. Yet, we learn so much! Each time I get a critique, I grow as a writer. If all we ever got was good news, we’d become stagnant.

    I love your blog and look forward to other posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. miladyronel says:

    We’ve all been there: that place where we wonder if it’s truly worth it. Then we realise that writing is all we really want to do and we have renewed hope. (I shared my story of almost giving up on my blog last month with the #IWSG if you’d like to check it out – especially the encouraging comments from other writers.)

    The best way I’ve learned how to deal with rejection: send out a lot of queries and know that the story will find its right home in time.

    Happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Sorry to hear about your other book. But keep in mind things like #pitchwars are SUPER subjective. My book got into Pitch Madness (yay!) but was not requested by a single agent during the event (literal weeping ensued; my poor boyfriend). Four months later, the full’s been requested by 5 agents. Subjectivity is a booger.


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