So, yesterday was tax day – I’m sure it didn’t go unnoticed by most of us. They say death and taxes are the only certainties. For most of us aspiring to be published, we can add to that list, rejection.

No, it’s not a guarantee. But, it’s highly likely that through our pursuit of subbing out manuscripts or sending in stories to contests, we’re going to face rejection.

In his 1947 essay “On the Writing of Speculative Fiction,” Robert A. Heinlein listed the following rules for writing:

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

Sounds simple, right? But, how hard is it to send that story back out once it’s been rejected? Particularly, without making edits/changes to it? Pretty hard, in my own experience.

Writers seem to be plagued with self-doubt and insecurity. And, it’s no wonder. What we’re putting out there is a little piece of ourselves that we’ve often put blood, sweat and tears into. It doesn’t get more personal than that.

But, I believe this simple list of rules is very pertinent to each of us, and is something we should all keep in mind. I plan to keep this list handy, and to try to follow it in the future. However difficult that may be.

How about you? Do you think you can follow this list? Are there other “rules” or suggestions that have suited you along your path to publication? I’d love to hear them – please leave a comment with any that you want to share!

4 thoughts on “Wiley Wednesday – Death, Taxes & Rejection

  1. Ever since my aspiring author days I’ve liked to keep hope in the mail. I try to always have several submissions out at the same time. This means that if one comes back as a rejection, you still have “hope” in the others. The only downside to this is that sometimes the answers come back in clumps. (I blogged about it yesterday – this peculiar clumping thing).

    I also try to have a Plan B and a Plan C for each submission, getting it back in the mail as soon as I can after a rejection.

  2. DeboraDennis says:

    #3 – I can’t do. I do labor over my first draft, but it’s not as clean as the final draft – so rewriting is important (for me)

    #5 – Keeping it out there until it’s sold – don’t know if I could do that either. After a few personalized rejections all saying the same thing, it might be time to pull it and make some changes.

    Rejection is a part of the writer’s life…I’m slowly learning to live it. 🙂 but, I agree that you’ve got to keep moving forward. Keep producing and keep sending them out. After all, that’s the only way you’ll make it.

  3. I really like the list that you cite. It’s short, sweet, and to-the-point. Good stuff, Kathleen!

  4. I think that is awesome advice in general. I also agree with Shelley – it’s great to have multiple submissions out there. I also have back-up plans, in an effort to ‘get back on the horse’. The other thing that I do is jump right into the next project, and try to completely forget about the submission. That is the hardest, and yet the most helpful thing I make myself do for this funny addiction that I’m trying to turn into a career…lol.

    Great post, Kat. I love the death, taxes, rejection thing. I think I’m going to print that out and post it by my desk. =P

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