Michele Cushatt, On Letters of Rejection

So you want to be a writer … are you ready for the rejection? Can you learn from it? Michele says Yes.

It’d been six years since I first started writing. Finally, after thousands of hours spent learning, creating, and rewriting, I believed my time had come. My bookwould be published.

Only that’s not what happened. Within a couple short weeks, I received one more painful rejection to add to my pile. Defeated, I threw myself a five-star pity party and contemplated torching my manuscript in the backyard. Surely flames would make me feel better.

In between tears and rants, I asked myself the same question I torture myself with at least once a week:

Why do I keep doing this to myself? Why, oh why, do I keep writing?!

Of all the crafts to pursue, writing must be the most grueling and least rewarding. I can think of a hundred occupations with much better effort-to-success ratios than this one. Even baseball players post better stats than writers do. And I’m convinced we work harder.

So why did I continue to try? Why did I keep cranking out proposals and posts, when rejection seemed the constant response? I wasn’t sure my ego could take any more hits. I didn’t have enough confidence left to even call it an ego.

At the link above you can learn what she learned.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Lise

    Yup. My response is succinct because I’m writing this morning and taking a quick break before resuming work. :)

    I think we often try to write two or three books in one and then wonder why the material isn’t quite right. In the process of generating drafts (and getting feedback plus rejections), ultimately the book tells us what it wants to be – vs. the other way around. And most of us are just too impatient. The great masters never finished their pieces prematurely. Sometimes we’d be wise to follow this tip: “We will sell no wine before it’s time.”

  • Susan_G1

    I am not a writer, but I enjoyed Michele’s insights. They seem to be very solid advice for writers.

    I have come to realize something that she touched on, although not on this point exactly. I’ve realized that writing changes you. Even just the writing done in comments sections, if it’s thoughtful. When you write, you think about what you believe, you weigh it for truth in a way that doesn’t happen with non-public writing (in my experience). Just this small amount of writing has challenged some of my beliefs in a good way.

    So I would submit for consideration a fifth reason not to give up: you might become a better person for it.


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