After 25 years, it was time to clean out my editorial files. Each held treasured letters and years of correspondence with editors who have shaped my writing.
Then I reached the last file, “Rejection Letters.” Feelings of failure crept back as I chucked it in the garbage—but I pulled it back out. As I reread the personalized form letters and handwritten notes, most of them said my work did not match their current publishing needs.
But I hadn’t remembered the compliments: “I love your writing,” “We were inspired by your piece and found it well written,” and “Please send us more ideas.”
Those rejection letters pushed me to write better. To grow. If I didn’t hit the mark, I determined to nail it the next time. I studied issues of the publication and their writing guidelines more carefully. If I was too wordy or unfocused, that meant I didn’t do my best self-editing. A ruthless self-edit is non-negotiable.
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