How to Cope With Rejection As A Freelance Writer

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” —Ernest Hemingway

Switch out a typewriter for an ancient Macbook and you’ve summarized my sentiments about the activity of writing.

As a freelance writer working to build my business, I’ve encountered my fair share of rejection in recent months. And one set of “No, thank yous” after another is enough to rock anyone’s confidence.


While my luck seems to be changing when it comes to increasing my workload (and that ever-growing income as a result), I thought I’d tackle the topic to remind myself (and others) that rejection doesn’t necessarily equate with failure.

Understand That While It’s Creative, Writing is Also Difficult

I’ve talked to plenty of non-writers who have a romanticized view of what it means to be a writer. They often seem to picture us lazing about until noon, leisurely sitting down to our laptops and managing to pound out several chapters of the next Great American Novel before dinnertime. Unfortunately, these kinds of creative tasks seem to be seen as being less challenging than other types of work. News flash — it’s a challenge, even at the best of time. Sometimes the words pour out; other times, every sentence is a struggle. And you know what? That’s OK.

It takes bravery to sit down in front of your screen daily and stare down a blank page that’s waiting to be filled with words (important ones, hopefully). That’s a wildly intimidating task, believe it or not. So cut yourself a break.

Reminder: Most Rejection Isn’t Personal

This is the fact I struggle with most. As a writer, you have to deal with plenty of rejection, revisions, and changes to your work. That’s just the nature of being a working writer. But almost none of that is a personal attack on you or your abilities.

When I’m rejected for a contract or position, it’s a good practice to remind myself it’s not because I’m unqualified. It’s all about the right fit. Rejection doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer.

One Yes Is Worth A Thousand Nos

I don’t know about other writers, but the joy of getting a single “yes” is worth all the rejection in my eyes. I still turn into a giggly teenager when I get a byline in a publication I admire, or get a particularly well-written piece published. #nerdalert

And I’ve found the old saying to be true that the cream often rises to the top. Whether it’s luck or fate, I’ve generally had amazing experiences with the projects or client I do land. Again, that goes back to finding the right fit for both you and the client.



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