Guest Post from Simon Whaley, author of The Positively Productive Writer

The Positively Productive Writer

I’m a failure every day. Sometimes, I’m a failure several times in the same day! I’m forever being rejected. But, I make a point of telling myself that it isn’t me personally being rejected – just that idea at that particular time.

And because of that, I keep going. I keep writing and sending out work and making pitches to editors. And because I keep at it, I get acceptances too.

I once sent an article to a magazine. It came back rejected. A few months later, I heard the magazine had a new editor, so I resubmitted it. That editor rejected it too. Then some time later, I discovered the editor had changed again, so I resubmitted it to the same magazine. That particular editor accepted it. I hadn’t changed anything in my text. The words that third editor saw were exactly the same as the words the first two editors read. But the third one decided he liked it.

I sent a short story to a UK fiction magazine, and it was rejected. I also sent it to an Australian magazine, who decided to accept it. When they published it, I noticed that they’d made two very small changes. So, I made those changes to my original text and resubmitted it to the UK magazine. The UK magazine bought it.

In both those examples, had I given up after the first rejection, I would not have seen the publication of my words. (Nor would I have received the payments either!)

Once you understand that rejection is merely a moment in time, it makes it easier to move on. We all get rejected. Even professional writers are rejected. (Rumour has it, even the great Della Galton gets the odd rejection or two.)

And being the positive kind of guy that I am, I actually think rejection is a Good Thing. Because only writers who have the gumption to send their writing into that big, wide world out there can ever be rejected. You can only really appreciate what an acceptance means, when you’ve experienced rejection. So, go for it! Stay positive. Stay productive. And one day your efforts will be rewarded!

Good luck!


Twitter: @simonwhaley

Blog: Simon Says!

The Positively Productive Writer, by Simon Whaley, shows writers how to reject rejection and enjoy positive steps to publication.

ISBN: 9781846948510

UK: £11.99

US: $19.99

Available now on Amazon.

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10 Responses to Guest Post from Simon Whaley, author of The Positively Productive Writer

  1. Della Galton says:

    Simon is absolutely right about me getting rejections. There was a time when I was having more rejections than any other writer I knew. This was because I was sending out more work than any other writer I knew.
    One of my clever, lovely ex students, magazine writer Rosie Edser, has a different name for rejections. She calls them remops. Re marketing opportunities.
    Hear hear!
    And on that note I’d better get back to some of mine!

  2. Simon Whaley says:

    Thanks for inviting me to post on your blog, Della.

    Today, I have just had an email from an editor buying one of my short stories for a national publication. Looking back at my records I see that this particular story has been rejected eleven times in the past. So, whilst it had eleven rejections, importantly, it got the right, positive result today!


  3. I’m always disappointed when people say things like “I was rejected”, “I’ve been made redundant” or “I’m a failure”. Here’s the deal:

    * Your story was rejected, not you.
    * Your position was made redundant, not you.
    * Parts of your project were a failure, not you.

    So there!

  4. A very inspiring post – thank you 🙂

  5. Madeleine says:

    Excellent post. I tend to feel utterly dreadful when I receive rejections and that is terribly inhibiting. I know because it stunts my writing growth and successes by succumbing. I know I can write, yet I allow those inner demons too much air time. I’m trying to do better this year. Thanks for the boost.

    • Debbie W says:

      Thanks for that reminder. I am going to go for it, hammer and tongs, and will keep hard at it again now after reading your post, Simon.

  6. Tracy Baines says:

    I remember coming to your class and you brought in a folder containing all your rejections. That was hugely inspiring ( am I perverse?) and memorable. Anyway, it made me keep going and I’m so glad I did. Have a folder just lke that myself now!!!!

  7. Rachel says:

    I must admit, I got really excited when I got my first rejection, because it meant I had bothered to submit something and that’s the first step. Now I’m still waiting for the next step – an acceptance. But I’m sure it’ll come, if I keep on sending and improving.

  8. Lydia Jones says:

    Very timely, Simon: had two rejections yesterday. I spent a couple of hours feeling sorry for myself and then managed to turn one of them into an opportunity for a third story. Nothing stops it hurting but you’re right, it’s essential to remember it’s not personal. I too have sold on plenty of initially rejected stories.

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