how to cope with rejection as a freelance writer

You know, one of the biggest lessons I have learned the last few years as a freelance writer is how to cope with rejection.

Rejection by an online magazine or news-site of an article.

Rejection of a cold pitch.

Rejection of a job application.

Rejection by a publisher.

When you pour everything you have into your writing projects or applications it is gut wrenching when you receive a rejection in return, or worse….you don’t hear back at all!

However, it is a cold hard reality of freelance writing. You will be rejected. And more than once. In fact, so many times it does not bare counting.

When I first started out, every time I received a negative response it would beat me down. I let it get to me. I started doubting my writing ability. I started to question my choice of career path. And I wanted to give up.

It wasn’t until I sat down and had a stern talk with myself and wrote down some strategies for dealing with rejection that I was able to start to rise above the negative responses. I had to remind myself of WHY I wanted to be a freelance writer.

So, what were the strategies I adopted to cope with rejection as a freelance writer?

I wrote down my WHY.

This is very important. It helps to refocus you and to help you push through the rough times. Come back to your why.

Why do you want to be a freelance writer?

Why do you want to be a work-at-home-mum?

Write these reasons down somewhere. A diary. A poster on the wall. The fridge. Somewhere that you can easily refer back to and remind you WHY.

A lack of response, or rejection, is NOT personal.

Business owners and editors are super busy (generally speaking). Sometimes they simply do not have the time to reply to every single pitch.

Or perhaps the article you pitched doesn’t suit their publication? Or they already have enough content lined up.

The point is that the rejections or lack of response are NOT PERSONAL.

Sometimes they can be. Perhaps the publication or business you pitched does not think your personality or style will suit them. You know what? That is a GOOD thing. You do not want to be writing for someone whose style and voice is far removed from your own. Count it as a positive and move onto a business or publication that will suit you better. There is a silver lining!

Learn from those rejections (or lack of response).

Use each rejection to your advantage.

Critique your application or article and the response to it to work out what you can do better.

How can you improve upon your pitch for next time?

What can you change in your article to make it sound better?

Use those rejections or silences to fuel your motivation and desire to succeed.

I wrote down the reasons why each proposal was rejected, along with some notes of how to improve or what I needed to change in order to receive a YES!

Don’t give up! Don’t stop writing, pitching and applying.

This is where reminding yourself of your WHY is so important. It helps you to not give up. It helps you to push through the tough times where it feels like you are receiving rejection after rejection.

Whatever you do, do not stop writing and pitching and applying for jobs.

When I receive a “no”, I allow myself to indulge in a little pity party and than I move on.

I keep going. I keep writing. I brainstorm new and fresh ideas and places to pitch. And I just get on with it.

Keep going. You will receive a positive response. Maybe not today, or next week. It will happen. But not if you give up.


Scream, yell and cry. Talk it out. Whatever you need to do to get it out of your system. Than move on.

My hubby knows that when a rejection has hit me hard (for whatever reason), that I need to vent. He will simply listen and nod at the appropriate places whilst I rant. Once it is out of my system I feel heaps better and am able to move on.

If you don’t have someone you can talk to, shoot me an email! Or any other freelancer or blogger friend you have made out there. We all understand how hard rejection can be.

You are not alone!

Despite these coping mechanisms, there are still times when I feel beat down by rejections.

This is when I like to remind myself that I am not alone! The likes of Jorden Roper, Elna Cain and Gina Horkey have gone through exactly the same things. We all have.

Freelancing can sometimes be a lonely business, but it doesn’t have to be. Reach out online; find an accountability partner or community of freelancers. I love twitter and Facebook groups for this. There are so many others who go through the same thing and are always willing to help a fellow freelance writer out.

Most of all, I like to remember why I turned to freelance writing in the first place.

I love to write, I am good at it and I am passionate about turning that love and ability into a successful business. I am determined to succeed. I believed in myself enough to start this business, and I will damn well stick to it!

So the moral of the story? Don’t let those rejections stop you from doing something you really want to do. Don’t let them quell your passion and love for the written word. Just keep going. Keep pushing until you receive a YES!

Than you can dance and sing. Celebrate. Shout it from the rooftops. Take out a billboard if you want! But celebrate. And remember that feeling. Hold onto that sense of elation (I wish I could bottle it). And than when you receive your next rejection think back to that YES moment and keep pushing.


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