Just How Tough Your Skin Has to Be

How to endure the many rejections you’ll face as a freelance writer without losing your confidence and stamina

I recently started applying for freelance jobs, mainly in the content writing market. I was full of vigor and excitement over my first application. I sent three articles to Express Writers. Well, I didn’t get accepted to my dismay. I sort of expected a rejection from this company seeing as they only accept 2% of applicants. I figured I would start with the top dog and work my way down until I find a company that fits my level of talent. I’ve gotten various feedback and I’m not quite sure just where I fit in the online market yet. I write fiction and nonfiction. I don’t like confining myself to one genre of writing.

However, the most positive feedback I get is with my fiction literature. I started a book last year. I got about four chapters done when I realized how much easier it is to write in first person. So I am starting over. I think I would actually finish faster starting over than to finish what I’ve been doing in third person. There are just too many interruptions: He said, she said…I am going to take on the voice of my protagonist, Adam. I’m actually excited to start over. I think I will be able to type faster from his perspective. The first 4 chapters were more like getting my feet wet. I learned a lot from creating them. Lessons I’ll carry with me as I restart and polish my book.

It’s no doubt that you have to have incredibly thick skin to be a paid writer. But all it takes is ONE publisher who is captured by your work. Most won’t, but if you’re relentless and have some talent, one will.

My Creative Writing professor, David Athey, went through 32 rejections before he found his publisher! You can imagine how discouraging it was for him at about letter 10 or 15. I imagine he wondered if anyone would ever accept his book for publication. He finally found his match in Bethany, a decently large publication company! He shared with us how keeping all his rejection letters and implementing the editor’s feedback helped him make the necessary changes he needed to be accepted.

Most Editors will mark up your book or story in a sea of red pen! It can be overwhelming, but it’s helpful. SAVE those letters. You can use them to clean up any bad habits.

So I’m remembering my professor on this journey. The hardest part, the beginning, where most of the rejection takes place. Putting on my thick skin and pressing forward until I’ve accomplished my goals as a writer.

Do you have an experience worth sharing about submissions or rejections? Anyone use Grammarly for editing? How do you like it? Do share.

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