The Mental State of a Continually Rejected Writer

Good news: I’m sending out more query letters than ever before.

Bad news: I’m getting rejections faster and faster.

I’m not naive; I recognize that I’m going to be rejected a hundred times over before I receive my first “yes.” I’ve read the tales of respected authors gritting through the pile of rejection letters and writing anyway, sending out their manuscript on an envelope filled with hope. I know that I’m just one in a million faces behind a computer screen, lifting up my story like Oliver Twist begging for more.

Even so, every politely worded email goes straight into my gut, another swallowed thorn twisting inside my stomach lining. Every time I find myself wondering where my words went wrong, scanning through pages and pages looking for the red arrow saying “Here. This is where you failed.”

It makes it harder to crank out a thousand words a day; I stare at my unfinished second novel and my attention wanders, the tab closing behind it. My eyes go out of focus and I can’t remember what I wanted to write and why. And, then I’ll read an article about J.K. Rowling’s time on welfare or how Amelia Atwater-Rhodes was only fourteen when she was published. It makes my fingers itch just thinking about it.

After that, I can’t help but write.


Published by Ren Martinez

Ren is a thirty-something Lost Boy whose personal aesthetic is “suspected of witchcraft by local villagers.” She subscribes to cheerful nihilism, the destruction of the patriarchy, and the belief that glitter makes everything better. She is a Richmond-based writer and performer who has fiction and non-fiction work found in a variety of publications, such as The Mary Sue, RVA Magazine, The Quotable, and Nostrovia Press. She is currently the fiction editor and a regular contributor at Quail Bell Magazine. She is also the co-host of the podcast, This F***ing Guy! Find out more at or read her dumbass tweets on Twitter @itsrenmartinez

4 thoughts on “The Mental State of a Continually Rejected Writer

  1. Just keep at it!! I’ve just received a publishing contract (!!) but only a week ago I was in exactly the same boat as you and receiving rejection after rejection. It just goes to show that all it takes is one ‘yes’ so don’t lose heart! Your time will come (and when it does, believe me when I say you’ll feel incredible!!).

  2. Thanks! I definitely appreciate the sentiment. It gets frustrating at times, but I try my best to just keep swimming and avoid being eaten by sharks.

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