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Why Do Writers Keep Rejections?

After getting Twitter a few weeks, I’ve been learning and taking in lots of information from the published authors, publishers, agents, etc.  Having to keep up with all the tweets through the web is pretty hard, so I got TweetDeck and I keep it running throughout the day. This morning, I’ve been looking at the different windows I’ve pulled up and reading over what they entailed to see a tweet from Lori Devoti asking, “Writers, why do we save rejections? I have all of mine dating back to very first manuscript. Isn’t that like keeping our fat clothes?”

The question intrigues me because there is the answer that first came to mind that says keeping rejections with helpful comments is about learning from those comments as well as keeping track of where I’ve submitted to and the general nature of the response, which could play a role in resubmitting to that place or knowing that the agency/publisher/magazine/e-zine isn’t right for me.

I’ve been submitting my urban fantasy novel recently to agents, but that’s not all of my submission experience. I submitted my work to the short story and poetry market with horror and fantasy pieces when I was in college, then I dipped into the romance market and had Melody of Love published and have been shopping romance novellas and short stories. It’s good to keep an idea of where I’ve submitted a story to. I wouldn’t want to submit it to the same place a couple of times and frustrate them or myself, and I want to improve the quality of my work. If an agent or editor is willing to give advice, then I most definitely appreciate it.

The second second is that I’ve never really considered deleting or throwing away rejections. Yeah, I’ve had some that were a bit snotty, but even with those, I set them aside for a while and come back to see if they had any validity.  Maybe the person was just having a bad day, but regardless of that, everyone has differing opinions since writing is a subjective business. Some people love Author A and others might really not while even others are neutral.

Besides, rejections are like badges. Many writers haven’t gotten to the stage of submitting their work. Maybe they’re still thinking about an idea. Maybe they’re writing the story. Or maybe they’re laboring over revisions. Rejections show that you submitted your work and are one step closer to the goal of becoming published.