Wednesday, May 26

A 3-Step Program to Deal with Rejection

After 15 years as an aerobics instructor, I’ve had my fair share of criticisms and rejection. There is nothing like people walking out of your class in a huff, participants telling you they just don’t like your music and choreography, or showing up at the gym to find out there is no one to take your class, to help you develop a very thick skin. Sometimes you just have to put on that smile and keep teaching.

There is one thing that doesn’t change though, no matter how long you been through this, it always hurts. And it’s the same thing with writing. There are a few steps I taught myself over the years with fitness that have been extremely useful in dealing with rejection and criticism in writing.

(1) Make a true honest assessment of the critique.

Try to find a time when you can take a deep breath and acknowledge that the critique is directed at your work, not you personally. Then try to see honestly if there is some truth in what the person is saying. It is not easy to be honest with ourselves, but in order to improve, we have to face our faults.

If we truly don’t agree with the critique, then it’s time to just let it roll off our back and move on. Let’s not deal on the why and who, just move on. We just can’t please everyone, sometimes people simply have a bad reading day and that’s all. Let’s just agree to disagree and learn not to dwell on it. Move on.

If the critique strikes a nerve however, we can’t move on just yet. We made an error, we can’t change what was done for this particular piece of work, submission, book, but we can learn so we don’t make the same mistake twice and that insure the next one will be better.

(2) Write it down and make a plan.

So we know now where we need improvement. What are we to do about it? We need to write it down to be really clear about what it is we need to work on. Write down the things that needs improvement and right there, make a commitment to improve your weak spots.

Then what? It is one thing to know what’s wrong, but we must act. Make a plan. Whether it is to sign up for a specialty online class, attend a workshop, reading other authors to see how they do things, it helps to sit down and make a plan on what step we will take to correct the weak stops.

(3) Let go and carry on.

Once you have been honest with yourself, assessed what needs to be done, and have a plan to improve, you can move on. Before you embark on your next journey to improve your writing, you need to be able to let go. That is why I like to write it down within a day or two of receiving the critique. I can now move on, enjoy the other aspects of my life without guilt, sadness or resentment knowing I have a plan to get better. Obsessing about a rejection for too long can waste a lot of the energy that would better serve us if we’d use it to write and improve our writing.

We all can grow from our mistakes. And if we can be big enough to recognize critiques and negative feedback as a chance for us to rise to the challenge and grow as a writer, we will become much happier and see that there is always hope.

No one is born a perfect writer, or perfect anything. But the quest for growth and improvement can be deeply satisfying. So instead of fearing critiques, feedback and reviews, let’s make them work for us.

And always, let’s strive to put them behind us as we move forward!

I’d like to giveaway a signed copy of ANCIENT WHISPERS to a commenter. So tell me, do you have any tricks to move past rejection? Have you ever learn from any negative feedback? Please share with me.
Marie-Claude Bourque is the American Title V winner and author of ANCIENT WHISPERS, a sensual gothic paranormal romance filled with sorcerers and Celtic priestesses in search for eternal love in modern time. She worked as a climate research scientist, a scientific translator and a fitness expert until she turned to fiction writing. She draws her inspiration from the French legends of her childhood and a fascination for dark fantasy. ANCIENT WHISPERS, a Dorchester –Love Spell release is available now wherever books are sold. Find more at and don’t forget to enter the contest for her month-long virtual release party at


  1. Great strategies for dealing with rejection and criticism. One of the things I do is go over to and read the inspirational quotes and messages from other writers who have dealt with rejection. Then I just have to beat back the uglies and keep telling myself that I am a fine writer with a lot of experience and I must keep writing despite the sometimes destructive comments that were made. After all these years I can distance myself enough to see if there is anything constructive in their comments. If not, I ignore them and move on. It's hard but it can be done.


  2. Let go and carry on - that is the hardest part! I try to give myself time to be upset. Better to deal with that emotion right away. But only one day. When the sun rises, it is the chance to do better and move on, and I do.

  3. Hi! Great suggestions. I've had a lot of rejection in writing and in my pre-writing life (television news) ... it never gets easier but you do learn to deal and move on.

    Thanks for guest blogging today at WordWranglers!

  4. Hi, M-c!
    Great to see you here!
    Thank you!
    I think everyone has to deal with crits/rejections in their own way.
    I have gotten a lot better, but I still need a period of time to get over it.

  5. I too take a day....stomp around the house, bemoan and bewail...make rude comments about the critiquers ancestors and possibly down a few margaritas. Followed by Hershey's chasers. And then, no matter how I feel about it, I always go back and say thank you for the crit. Because while I may not be thankful NOW, I might be after I calm down. And the tequila kicks in.


  6. Hello Marie-Claude, what great tips. A part of me wishes that none of us would face rejection. But unfortunantly, rejection is part of life.
    One thing that helps me is my attitude regarding the submission process. This may sound crazy, but when I send something in, I don't set my heart on "publication." If its meant to be, it will be, if not, then what can I learn from the critiques, at least I'm networking with and agent/editor, and it was kinda nice making PRO.
    On the down side, my husband has noticed (how could he not!) that I tend to freak out more over submitting work that I do over rejections. His words, not mine.
    Thanks MC, wishing you all the best,Debby Lee

  7. Thank you so much for your strategies for dealing with rejection -- I completely agree! Personally, I require a little more time before I can look at the critique objectively enough to take what I need from it. I'm sure everyone's different that way. I also tell myself the rejection or criticism came to me for a purpose. It's an opportunity, not a disaster. Sometimes that thinking works ... sometimes I need some chocolate first! Thanks again, and congratulations on "Ancient Whispers"!

  8. Hi everyone :)
    Coming here a little late. Thank you for your congrats and I love your suggestions for dealing with rejection.
    It's hard no matter what, it's important to be prepared!

  9. Frankly, I wouldn't stop what I'm doing just because someone told me "no". In fact, it's my lucky charm. Everytime someone tells me I can, I've said "oh, yeah? just watch me."

    I was told I'd never graduate high school because we were on welfare. I was told I'd never graduate college because I was poor. Or make it to Japan, where I worked 2 jobs to pay for college. Or make a career out of a lousy English degree. Or get published....wait, that one I'm still working on.

  10. I agree, rejection comes with being a writer. You have to pick up out the truth that will make your next story better and toss away the stuff that he reader either didn't get, or were just being mean.

    After my contemporary western, Perfectly Good Nanny won an EPPIE, I had a person write a review that tore the whole book apart. I don't remember a single thing she liked about the book. Then I read some of her other reviews and realized it was her way of standing out in a review crowd, to bash every book she read.

    Stay true to yourself but keep an open mind and grow from the criticism.

  11. This is a great post, some great food for thought.

    I definitely learn from critism, even really negative critiques. In fact I often ask for them, I personally find it easier to learn what I did wrong and not do it again, than from what I did right, but we're all different.

    The problem I have is letting it roll off my back, or even just moving on, after the words have been placed before me. It tends to stay with me. But if it didn't affect me that might scare me more, so there's no completely pain free plan.

  12. Nice post. I've always considered a critique as a positive sign. That someone cared enough to help my better my product.

  13. Thanks for all your comments everyone. It's nice to see what works and what doesn't for everyone.
    Most of the time, yes it's better to get critiques than indifference :)