Monday, January 28, 2008


A few years ago I took a creative writing course at UBC and was sending the fruits of my labour out to local rags for potential publication, and was receiving rejection letters in return. My professor told me something one day that I will never forget.

When she was a student, her professor told their class that they were not to fear rejection, but embrace it. To be afraid of rejection means that you will never want to send your writing out.

So my professor made a bet with another woman in her class - the one with the most rejection letters at the end of the term won. Needless to say, they both sent our their work furiously, and both racked up an admirable number of rejection letters. 200-300 each if I remember correctly. And yes, they both did end up getting published. In fact, my teacher ended up being nominated for a Governor General's Literary Award for her book of short stories.

Now, I see rejection as an indication that I tried, not as an indication of failure. The problem is, the rejection letter I found a few days ago indicates that I stopped trying years ago. Perhaps one day, I will try to collect them again. Wanna bet on it? :)

1 comment:

Mika Ryan said...

In California, there is a house where the walls are papered in rejection letters. Every inch is covered with letters turning the author down. He went on to write "call of the wild."