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Dear Writer, Do You Embrace Rejections? #IWSG

By 04/03/2020April 13th, 2020Featured, IWSG, writing
We embrace rejections

Rejections are a part of every writer’s life.

My work has been published several times, and publication no longer brings me the sort of thrill it used to years ago. It is more of a temporary relief, a sort of sigh–ah maybe my work is not all that bad then.

This year I’ve decided to submit more of my work–because I’m writing short pieces again, and have found a bunch of pieces haven’t been through the submission wringer.

So this year, my goal is 150 rejections.

Why rejections?

The premise is that if we embrace rejections, they will lose (some of) their sting. The more we submit, the more we narrow down the options of finding a home for a particular piece.

After a certain level of writing, acceptance is subjective. We live in a publishing world where more people want to publish than ones who want to read and subscribe, so naturally, demand is much shorter than supply, and rejection a way of life for all of us.

In my journey towards 150, I wished for some companions, so I sent out this tweet. We now have a group on Facebook: We Embrace Rejections. It is small and private to begin with, but I’m happy with the growing list of writers of varied writing and submission experiences from all over the world.

If you’re on Facebook, and would like to join the We Embrace Rejections group, send a message to this ID.

Mention that you read about the group in this post, and what your goals are. Submissions can be for short or long fiction or non-fiction, residencies, fellowships, grants, you name it. The idea is to access as many opportunities as possible, and create a positive shared space to cheer and support each other.

In case you’re curious, following will be the group topics:

1. #INTRODUCTION A thread to introduce yourself

2. #SUBGOALS A weekly post each Friday where we post how many we propose to submit that week, and when. For 150 a year, we need to make at least 3 submissions a week.

3. #SUBSTATS Another post each Thursday, checking on how many we submitted.

4. #CALLFORSUBS A thread where we each share call for submissions. I’ll share a few each week.

5. #CALLFORBETAS A biweekly thread where we ask each other for beta reads by mentioning what genre, length, and deadline by when we want the read done. This should ideally be based on exchanges, and we should link to our blogs/ publication history while doing this so we find a good match

6. #RAVEANDRANTS A weekly rave and rant thread where we can commiserate on the rejections and rejoice in the acceptances.

7. #CALLFORSUPPORT A weekly thread, where we can post throughout the week for any support needed.

Oh, and in other news, one the submissions I made this year placed third at the International Strands Magazine Competition, so that has been a good nudge to keep sending those pieces out.


Social media by Chrys Fey

Dear writers, do you embrace rejections?

Would you like to be part of the We Embrace Rejections Group?


This post was written for IWSG: Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) every month! Go to the site to see the other participants. In this group we writers share tips, self-doubt, insecurities, and of course, discuss the act of writing. If you’re a writer and a blogger, go join rightaway!

The co-hosts today are Jacqui Murray, Lisa Buie-Collard, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence. Please go and give their posts some love.

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Are you part of nay online or offline book groups? Founded any? What is the experience like? Do you think online book groups are similar to those offline?My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is making its way into the world.

It is available in India here.

Worldwide, here.

Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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41 Comments

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – thank goodness it’s not something I worry – though I can hear others’ troubling trials as they work through their rejections. Good luck to one all – we need cheerful news at the moment – good luck with the group – sounds fun and it’ll be successful … cheers HIlary

  • Thank you Damyanti, great idea. I definitely want to join, will send a message on ID. Or in this blog’s message box ?
    Insecure about rejections, didn’t submit anything for two years ! 2017-Jan.2019. Back on the wagon though.
    Keep safe and secure.

  • msw blog says:

    With such a positive outlook you may now never receive another rejection 😉

  • aj vosse says:

    Mmmm… I’m wondering, do you have a list of 150 (or even 50) publishers we can all bombard? Then I’ll join the fun!
    😁😁😁

  • Rajlakshmi says:

    Alrhough I have never submitted for publication I can imagine how rejections can impact the spirit of writers. This is a great approach to deal with rejections and also have higher probability of getting published

  • Mark Murata says:

    I recently received a rejection that told me what was lacking in the first couple chapters of my story. This was crucial information.

  • Vinitha says:

    I think the reason I stopped writing for submissions, subconsciously I might add. I like your concept of aiming for a number of rejections. That point of view definitely would drive one to write more and submit more. I would love to join your FB group. Why didn’t I know about it before!

  • Lynn Love says:

    Rejection is so hard. I’ve developed a tougher skin (emphasis on the ‘er’) over the years, but it still stings. When you’ve worked really hard on something, spent hours writing, drafting, redrafting, for a rejection. I’m feeling extra frustrated at the moment because my novel is out to four agents at the moment (one was sent it last August!) and no reply. They’re busy people, they have clients to take care of, the last thing they need is to wade thigh deep in a slush pile. But a form rejection would be enough, just so I know. Doesn’t stop me writing, doesn’t stop me sending short pieces out. But it gives your self esteem a pummelling! Great post, Damyanti

  • tara tyler says:

    what a fantastically twisted way to look at the submission process. love it!

    and wanted to thank you for stopping by my Beast World campaign and for your support on social, et al.
    i’m checking out the facebook group =)

  • Tikeetha T says:

    This right here was so accurate and powerful…The premise is that if we embrace rejections, they will lose (some of) their sting. The more we submit, the more we narrow down the options of finding a home for a particular piece.

  • DutchIl says:

    Thanks for sharing!!.. well, I do not write to publish, etc, I simply let my thoughts be known… those who wish to read and agree can and there will be those who do not.. I do not dwell on it very long as I move on and continue to follow my dreams and continue to let my fingers do the walking (typing) and my heart do the talking!.. 🙂

    “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell

  • Denise Covey says:

    Damyanti, I won’t join for now, LOL, I’m in so many red-hot mainly self-publishing groups, I can’t embrace any more groups ATM. The thought of embracing rejections disturbs me – most writers are insecure and when our work in rejected, it’s hard not to get momentarily depressed, feeling it judges you as somehow lesser. This just feeds into our insecurity. I rarely submit to traditional publishers – one novel only. Thankfully they all said nearly exactly the same thing – all good, they loved my story and how I told it, but they were nervous about taking on new authors. Well, that gets me off the hook of looking for a trad publisher! What a relief!

  • Natasha says:

    More power to you suer girl <3

  • Interesting twist.

  • Rejection is simply a tool to help us hone our writing skills and needs to be embraced as such. Every failure is a stepping stone toward your best work. We need to be grateful for this way of improvement. Rejection is a process to be welcomed in any type of work we take on, not just writing. I listened carefully to my critics in administration. Criticism direct and indirect may not always be justified but it is a point of view from those looking at my performance and an opportunity to so some self-examination then move on with the knowledge gained. 🙂 PS. I’ve enjoyed reading the book you sent me.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Absolutely agree with everything you say. would be lovely if you could drop in a line or two about the book on Goodreads–I’m sure the author would appreciate it.

  • Jemi Fraser says:

    That is a brilliant idea! I’m devoting the year to self-publishing a few books, so it’s not a good fit for me at this time, but I think the idea is awesome! Good luck to one and all!

  • mitchteemley says:

    Now that’s thinking positively!

  • Juneta says:

    Cheering you. Cool idea about the group.

  • JT Twissel says:

    Your energy and persistence always stuns me! Amazing.

  • Yvonne V says:

    What a fun idea!

  • Dave says:

    That’s a great attitude to have. I’m working on embracing rejection.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Join us! It is easier if everyone around is going through the same thing.

  • because rejection is part of the process not just in being a writer but in life. I try to embrace the comments as it can only be seen as helpful to better not just self but a story as well.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      That’s wonderful attitude for a writer. Openness to feedback is a huge strength.

  • Jacqui Murray says:

    I hate rejection so much I don’t encourage reviews of my work! I can’t stand the thought of reading how it is ‘the worst book they ever read’ (as one reader recently wrote. I guess I’m not ready to embrace rejection–what do you think?

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      I think each of our writing selves are geared differently. And you needn’t fear rejection— you have talent in spades. Taste is subjective, so if someone doesn’t like your work, it is a matter of different taste, not quality.

  • Mary Aalgaard says:

    Also, I’m interested and reading a reviewing your book.

  • Mary Aalgaard says:

    Your book sounds great. I like your goal of getting 150 rejections, that means you’re getting your work out there.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Mary at Play off the Page

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks Mary! I do hope to get my work out there.

      Shall get in touch about sending across a review copy. Thanks for the offer to read and review—- a fair and honest review will help the book and the causes it supports.

  • John Hric says:

    Lets see if I can almost quote Churchill here. He defined success something like this. Success is the ability to stumble from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. 150 rejections sounds like a good start Damyanti. Press onward.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      I disagree with Churchill on other things, but he was right about this one. Thanks for the encouragement, John.

  • I have my rejection collection. I’ve gotten better at embracing it, but mostly after a new rejection has had a chance to cool for a while. It takes time. It also gives me a way of looking back at where I’ve been. I don’t think anybody but other writers believes me, when I say that past rejections are really very encouraging!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Karen, rejections are way of life. I’m so glad you’ve found a way to embrace them. Would love to have you join our group!

  • That many rejections means there will be acceptances in the lot – a win for you!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks Alex, let’s hope so. The idea is to tame rejections and reduce the anxiety of sending things out.

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