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The Writer’s Life: The Road to Success is Paved with Rejections

Rejections are a fact of life for writers. First, your work is rejected in bits and pieces by you until you finally agree to let that certain set of words go out into the world seeking its audience. Then it begins to be rejected by those who look for future profits between every line.

Sure, you’re disappointed.

Some rejections are quite routine. Form letters. Heartless.

Other rejections are warmer. The executioner actually takes a moment to say “I’m sorry. This piece is not for us.”

The best rejections are the instructive ones. They gently let you down onto a cushion of suggestions, ideas and hope.

What do rejections mean?

In spite of their initial sting, rejections are not about the quality of our work as much as they are about a message landing in the wrong mailbox. No such person at this address. You have not found the audience for your book yet.

Rejections mean you have successfully given birth to your ideas. You have been brave enough to expose your thoughts, musings, ideas, characters and beliefs to the world, with no idea of how they will be received.

Most important, when your writing is rejected, it’s not you personally who has been rejected. It just means that your work has not found its rightful place, but is one step closer to doing so.

When your writing is rejected, you have joined a prestigious group of other brave men and women. There is not likely a successful writer who has not had his work rejected. Some are legend.

Dick Wimmer, a longtime Agoura Hills, CA resident, once held the record for being history’s most-rejected published novelist. After 162 rejections over more than 25 years, his 1989 breakthrough, ‘Irish Wine,’ finally enjoyed acceptance and publication.

He went on to teach English and creative writing as well as edit a number of well-regarded nonfiction books about sports. He also wrote the screenplay for the 1982 TV movie, The Million Dollar Infield, featuring Rob Reiner.

Wimmer died at age 74 in May 2011.

Rejections are about more than just the prose you pen and propose to publishers. They are also about perseverance, belief in yourself and tenaciousness.

Do you think you could have kept faith in your manuscript to submit it to publishers 162 times?