Dealing With Rejection

“If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.” -Lecrae

Pouring your soul onto paper (or your computer screen) takes a lot of courage. Writers spend countless hours writing, editing, and hoping their thoughts will strike just the right chord with their audience. Sometimes the pieces you slave over are well-received; at other times, not so much.

Rejection is a part of the journey.

If you aren’t careful, you may doubt your ability to write when your words aren’t given the attention you envisioned. Before you entertain that negativity, ask yourself:

What specific feedback (or criticism) did I receive?

Is there any truth in their feedback?

What specific parts of my piece can be improved? How?

Does my grammar or punctuation detract from my piece?

Do my ideas flow logically and purposefully?

Look, I get it. I can be defensive about my work, too. Yet, if one of our goals is to become a better writer, we have to learn how to get out of our feelings and look at look at our work critically. So, that criticism we received? We’ve got to dissect it for what it’s worth. Is there any truth to their criticism? Be honest.

If needed, go old school for a minute. Print out your writing piece and grab a colorful pen. If you still have nightmares about the sea of red your high school teacher used to paint your old papers, then choose a different color.

Read through your work in its entirety the first time. Jot down your thoughts on a separate sheet of paper. Then, read through your work again. This time, focus on each paragraph. Do you have a main idea per paragraph? Or do you have several which could be explored more in depth on their own? Don’t be afraid to dig deeper!

Once you’ve looked at each paragraph individually, re-read your work. This time, think about the flow of your writing piece. Is there a paragraph that would be better suited later or earlier? If so, move it. You want to ensure your work is cohesive and makes sense.

After your content is edited, you can focus on improving your grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. We all know the value in using spell check, but make sure you look over your work line by line. Consider varying your sentence length. This makes your work flow better, and it adds variety. Don’t be afraid to be meticulous. Trust me, that agency you want to accept your work will definitely use a magnifying glass!

I know this is a long process to undertake, but I am firm believer in getting to the root of an issue. If my work didn’t make the cut or received some criticism, then I make it my business to figure out why.

Sometimes, our work may not be a good fit for a particular brand. There is also the possibility that we could stand to strengthen our writing. And you know what? There’s no shame in that. We’re all learning and growing.

::: JaQuette Gilbert, Author + Writing Mentor


  1. Look at the last writing submission you wrote. If the company or brand did not provide specific feedback, write down why you think the submission was rejected.
  2. Self-edit your work using the process we discussed above.
  3. If needed, use that life line and have someone else edit your work, too.
  4. Once you’ve incorporated the new changes, decide how (or if) you will use your new and improved version.
  5. Above all, don’t live for everyone else’s acceptance. If you do, you won’t know how to cope with their rejection.
Ashley Coleman