Don’t Count on your Friends or Family

mary higgins clarkI’ve just finished reading a short memoir written by Mary Higgins Clark, a prolific suspense and mystery writer, titled Kitchen Privileges.  Ms. Clark said her husband was supportive of her writing. He would babysit their 5 children while she went to writers’ groups or workshops. After many rejection slips, she received one that said “Not right for us, but try us again.”

For those who have received such a rejection, it is encouraging. The editor is not rejecting our writing, just the article. Woo Hoo! Good news. Ms. Clark felt the same way. She shared it with her husband who said, “Writing is a hobby that gives you great pleasure. Some people play bridge. You write.”

Ms. Clark, like other serious writers (I hope you are one) did not see her writing as a hobby. We want to be successful, but sadly when we receive rejection letters, our families and friends often fall into one or two groups. They either say, “Don’t break your heart. Give it up,” or “You’re the best writer in the world. The reason you can’t get published is these editors are busy publishing their friends and famous people who write drivel.”

rejection not fatalNeither response is helpful and rejection is not fatal. That’s why budding writers must attend workshops and writers’ groups. Fellow writers understand that a personal comment from an editor is significant.

So, if you are not in a writer’s group that meets to critique each other’s writing, join or start one. If you write young adult or children’s books, search for a chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. (SCBWI) Or try Romance Writers of America.(RWA)  Perhaps your library has a writer’s group, if not ask about starting one. Check local colleges, Craig’s list, and the arts and literature section of your newspaper. Some critique groups are offered on-line, but beware, some of these might steal your work. Face-to-face meetings are better.

Keep writing. Those encouraging rejections will appear.


    • Maria….I was told once when I was discouraged…”quit if you can”. If writing is in your blood, you can’t quit. So keep trying.


      • Thank you for your encouraging words. I confess writing is an addiction and I can’t stop, even when life doesn’t allow me time to put words on paper – they swim about in my head.


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