How many rejection slips can you claim to your author name? If you proudly boast none, you are either a topnotch writer who needn’t even be reading this, or you are a “wannabe published” one who is not doing the work it takes to accomplish that goal. If, on the other hand, you have a good number of rejection slips, like I do, it means you’ve been working at writing and getting published. Good for you!

Can’t bear the thought of someone rejecting your work? If that’s the case, then you’d best put your pen down, crumple up your poem, your story, or your novel, and get on with something in life other than writing. Writing involves work, and plenty of it, sometimes with little or no reward, and rejection slips are just little interruptions—or maybe more?—along the way.

While the writer’s daily trek to the mailbox (in anticipation of hearing from an editor) has evolved into a quick click in the inbox, no amount of technology can, or ever will, ease the pain and dejection of the dreaded rejection slip, regardless of its form or format. Yet, however strange it may sound, I’m proud of my folder of Sorry, we can’t use it notes, because it represents my thirty years plus of writing and submitting materials—poems, stories, essays, and the like. Despite those rejection slips, my byline appears in the host of magazines and books lining the shelves of my “published works” bookcase, and a good number of those publications came about because of my favorite, now scrapbooked, rejection slips.

From impersonal, Xeroxed rejection letters with check-marked boxes at either We have just published something similar or It does not fit our editorial needs at this time, to updated email replies such as We have not chosen your work or Sorry, I must decline…, rejection slips are not all that bad. In fact, some can be downright encouraging! Case in point: Amateur that I was, many years ago, when a sales rep from an office supply company spoke of a small, local publishing house, I was overjoyed and quickly sent my picture book manuscript their way. It was returned a week or two later with a note reading, Sorry, we don’t publish this type of work. We are a textbook publisher. However, we enjoyed your story so much that we passed it around the office so that everyone could read it. Encouraging? Yes!

Another five (handwritten) rejection slips, all from the editorial director of a children’s magazine publisher, led to the publication of 100+ poems, stories, and puzzles in those magazines over the next three years. Looking back, I’m sure that that patient editor must have sensed something she liked about my writing and, when I finally submitted a story poem she could use, she replied with This is just what we’ve been looking for! A few more poems and stories sent her way reaped praises such as Your material is just great! followed by instructions to mark my manuscript envelopes Materials Requested, to assure her getting my manuscripts directly and without delay.

Yes, I still get rejection slips, but I file them away and move on, always aware that I never know where one (or five) of them might lead.

So, how many rejection slips can you claim, and how many, if any, have been helpful and encouraging? Please Like and leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Also, please visit my website at for information about my books, Snaps, Scraps & Snippets of the Past and Present and Light for the Burning Soul, both available in paperback, Kindle, and Nook.