Making Lemonade: How Writers Transform Rejection #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

juice-3175117_1920A writing friend of mine has papered her bathroom with rejection slips. Viewed in that context, they become less weighty and are put into perspective. As writers, we tend to think of rejections from publishers as negative. But rejections can be gifts in disguise, offering us a way to make lemonade out of lemons.

There have been times when, once I let the initial sting of rejection subside and looked at the submitted work again, I could see why it wasn’t ready for publication or right for the place where I’d sent it. Often the writing still was in an early stage, but I hadn’t recognized that yet. When we don’t have someone to edit our work, we can misjudge it, so it is important to view some rejections as professional feedback, not a rebuff.

In one rejection I received, the editor was kind enough to point out I hadn’t hit the emotional center of the piece. I was remaining too general, skirting the heart of the story. Once he pointed out my omission, I was able to literally turn honey into gold, the actual title of the article.

In another instance, I had written an article on cats. The editor of a cat magazine returned it without any comment, a response that can hurt even more than the typical form letter. That was a few months ago. Today I picked up the essay and could see clearly what wasn’t working: it didn’t have a sharp focus. Again, I hadn’t hit the heart of the piece.

Several years ago, after touring Europe, I wrote my first travel article, wanting to make other travelers aware of some problems I’d run into. I sent it off, expecting immediate acceptance: after all, the article made so much sense. Well, that was exactly the problem. The piece was too factual and needed more personal flavor. In this case, one travel editor, while patronizing, at least made valuable recommendations. I just overlooked his manner and the piece was published.

We writers need to create something beautiful—or at least useful—out of what might seem a negative experience. Make lemonade out of a lemon. Turn honey into gold.



12 thoughts on “Making Lemonade: How Writers Transform Rejection #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

  1. FYI: It’s a little hard to find your blog. Your website seems to want to default to another page. I just wanted to let you know in case other participants in the hop are having the same problem.

  2. I think rejection, like criticism, also lends a certain validity to success.
    Knowing that we can “fail” (I don’t like that word, but in this case it’s necessary), gives credence and value to success.

    As you say, all rejections or criticism are an opportunity to learn and grow.
    Many may be expressed in a harsh tone, but they still offer valuable insight.

  3. Hi Lily! Is this your contribution to the author toolbox blog hop? If it is, I recommend adding something like (author toolbox) or (#AuthorToolboxBlogHop) to the title so that the rest of us hoppers know which post to click into. Thanks!

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