I consider myself a good writer–not eye-poppingly great, mind you, but good enough so that I probably won't find myself immortalized in any slush pile horror stories. But good or not, I still get rejected. A lot.
And it still hurts. A lot. Yes, I know that it's all part of the business and that if you want to survive you have to grow a skin thicker than rhinoceros hide. Normally, I'm pretty good at sloughing off harsh words.
Some days, though, when I'm really struggling, it helps to go back and read what others have said about being rejected in the arts and in life in general. I hope you find these words as much as a pick-me-up as I do.
1. "Don't let anyone, or any rejection, keep you from what you want." – Ashley Tisdale
2. "I could write an entertaining novel about rejection slips, but I fear it would be overly long." – Louise Brown
3. "I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection." – Billy Joel.
4. "I submit all my plays to the National Theatre for rejection. To assure myself I am seeing clearly." – Howard Barker
5. "I don't want anyone who doesn't want me." – Oprah Winfrey
6. "I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat." – Sylvester Stallone
7. "I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." – Christopher Reeve
8. "I tell writers to keep reading, reading, reading. Read widely and deeply. And I tell them not to give up even after getting rejection letters. And only write what you love." – Anita Diament
9. "I think that you have to believe in your destiny; that you will succeed, you will meet a lot of rejection and it is not always a straight path, there will be detours – so enjoy the view." – Michael York
10. "I wrote poems in the corner of the Brooks Street Station. I sent them to two editors who rejected them right off. I read those letters of rejection years later, and I agreed with those editors." – Carl Sandburg
11. "Through my illness, I learned rejection. I was written off. That was the moment I thought, Okay, game on. No prisoners. Everybody's going down." – Lance Armstrong
12. "You must keep sending work out: you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist." – Isaac Asimov.
13. "I think all great innovations are built on rejections." – Louis Ferdinand Celine
14. "You've got to love this business. You have to be able to take rejection." – Jessica Biel
15. "This is for writers yet to be published who think the uphill climb will never end. Keep believing. This is also for published writers grown jaded by the process Remember how lucky you are." – Terry Brooks
16. "A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success." – Bo Bennett
17. "I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his or her own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, 'To hell with you.'" – Saul Bellow
18. "We keep going back, stronger, not weaker, because we will not allow rejections to beat us down. It will only strengthen our resolve. To be successful, there is no other way." – Earl G. Graves
19. "Some actors couldn't figure out how to withstand the constant rejection. They couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel." – Harrison Ford
20. "Rejected pieces aren't failures; unwritten pieces are." – Greg Daugherty
21. "There are two reactions to a rejection slip: deciding it's a final judgment on your story and/or talent, and deciding it's no judgment on your story and/or talent." – Nancy Kress
22. "I've got a folder full of rejection slips that I keep. Know why? Because those same editors are now calling my agent hoping I'll write a book or novella for them. Things change. A rejection slip today might mean a frantic call to your agent in six months." – MaryJanice Davidson
23. "Have you had a failure or rejection? You could get bitter. That's one way to deal with it. Or…you could just get BETTER. What do you think?" – Destiny Booze
24. "Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves?" – Friedrich Nietzsche
25. "Actors search for rejection. If they don't get it, they reject themselves." – Charlie Chaplin