Get Inspired Mondays, Writing

Ah, the Sweet (Buttery) Smell of Rejection

buckets,food,movies,popcorns,snacks,treats,Veer Images,entertainments,refreshments


It was 6:00pm on a Friday when I received my first jolt of writerly rejection several years ago. Getting ready for movie night with my young girls, I was pulling out cozy blankets and popping popcorn when my husband walked in with the stack of mail in hand.

My eyes found it immediately — the large 9 x 12 envelope was  flashing red, and screeching, “Warning, Will Robinson!” But, still, I grabbed for it.

As the final kernel popped in the microwave, I scanned the form, finding the “x” marked in the wrong spot — “Does not suit our needs” was the claim.  I took a deep breath, and the smell of buttery temptation seeped in.

Except the popcorn no longer smelled so good. Curses.

I love the saying that goes something like, “A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” Or, maybe it’s the pursuit of loser-dom, but let’s not quibble about such insignificant details.

There’s really two ways of dealing with rejection: You can let it turn you into a quivering, gelatinous mass of self-doubt which is never again able to reform. Or, you can get kicking, and pop that loathsome wench of rejection into a blender to mix yourself up one heck of an energy concoction.

Peeps — I suggest you drink up.

My rejected story was eventually published in another magazine, and I thankfully came to once again love the smell of popcorn. (Yeah, it’s that good.) Most importantly, I learned to keep on keeping on.

There have been other rejections over the years, and I’m sure there will be more to come. I keep them all in my “folder o’ passes” nestled comfortably next to my “file o’ misfit ideas.”  I choose to see it as a cabinet of possibility. I’m all unicorns and daydreams that way.

So, today, when pink is the theme, and rejection’s ugly glare may hurt a little worse than usual (especially if Cupid’s arrows aren’t around to give you a boost), I suggest taking out that folder of rejection slips. Those pictures of your ex. That report card of doom. Feel that little flame burning until you’re ready to get kicking.

And then pop some popcorn. Cuz’ eating popcorn makes everything better.


This post was part of Get Inspired Monday! — a series created to help you dig into your week and find inspiration in unexpected places. Note: I have some fabulous guest bloggers lined up for the coming weeks, and a possible contest. Stay tuned!

Find me on Twitter @amandahoving

42 thoughts on “Ah, the Sweet (Buttery) Smell of Rejection”

  1. Does rejection ever get easier? It’s taken me quite a while to get over my first big rejections, four years to be exact, and I’m just now ready to put things out there again. I hope that I can get some positive responses in the future, or at least some constructive rejections that explain what wasn’t working in the piece, or if it was fantastic, just not what they were looking for. This has motivated me enough to put the piece in a big brown envelope and send it on it’s way to places unknown. Thanks for this, Amanda 😀


    1. Yes, send it, send it! It almost hurts my heart when I see people working so hard, and keeping it all to themselves. Share it. Send it. I beg of you 😉

      Thanks for reading 2blu! And, yes, rejections gets easier (crossing fingers).


  2. I eat rejection for breakfast. Then I have some popcorn for lunch.

    I remember when I couldn’t get a date to save my life. That was a little era known as undergrad. Eventually I got serious, worked [out] harder, and got myself into a position to get the yes I always wanted. I tried to be nice about it, but I definitely felt satisfaction when some of those old rejectors resurfaced, suddenly interested in me. Too late. I was out with someone else (and yes we were probably eating popcorn together).

    That’s how I view getting published. Stay gracious in defeat/rejection, but remember that with enough work a No will become a Yes.


  3. I hope I’m about to indulge in popcorn on the day rejection arrives, if it must. If it stops me cold, and I can’t eat it, at least I’ll remember someday that my rejection was met with the aroma of popcorn in the air, and popcorn still tastes good, and tomorrow’s another day. Blessings to you, Amanda, and congrats on the publication of the same piece on another day!


  4. I love it, Amanda! That’s the way we keep going, let the rejections fuel us instead of bring us down. You keep, keeping on! And eating popcorn. Yes, super-delicious.


  5. I think that “all unicorns and daydreams” is the way to be. Optimism can equate to professionalism (a positive attitude can keep the writing going and the income coming.) I very much like your “folder o’ passes” and “file o’ misfit ideas.”


  6. I feel your pain–I got my first rejection just this week! They do it by e-mail now.

    I like to keep in mind something an advisor once told me while we were beating our heads against the proverbial wall trying to get funding for a clinic we were building in Africa. I was getting frustrated, so he looked me in the eye and said, “Everyone fails no matter how good they are. Successful people are not people who fail less; successful people are people who fail more, because they go from one failure to the next until they succeed.”


    1. Yes, I’ve received the email kind, as well (can you feel my excitment?). They extinguish the hope that much quicker 😉

      I’ve heard that quote, or something similar, and it is so true.

      Thanks for reading!


    2. Great quote! I think that this is probably true and we just don’t hear about the many failures the successful people have had…before they don’t talk about them.


  7. Keep the inspiration coming, dear–love it. The rejections do and will pile up, but there are always more chances to try again, in all things in life, and I will always find great comfort in that!


    1. Thank you, Erika, though I think these types of posts have been done much more eloquently by my guest bloggers 🙂

      Yes, there are always new opportunities — that chirks me up quite a bit. When I’ve exhausted one avenue, there are ten more to try.


  8. All so true. I like the names of your folders! I have one reject folder called “rejections of interest.” (i.e. complimentary notes inviting me to submit again in the future). And then just the plain old “nope” file for form the notes. It’s all part of the process.


  9. Yes, popcorn does help. (When things get really bad, caramel popcorn gives me an extra boost.)

    I don’t send very much out because the rejections do get overwhelming. Although, I prefer to think of the rejections as ‘incompatibility situations’ – my work is incompatible with what they have in mind.

    It’s semantics, but it’s my coping mechanism. In your words, it keeps me from turning “into a quivering, gelatinous mass of self-doubt.” But like you, I will keep on keeping on 🙂


  10. Love your Get Inspired Monday series. I have enough rejections to wallpaper my apartment, but you definitely have to keep on keeping on as you say. The rejection could be for so many reasons that have nothing to do with you at all.
    It’s nice to come across your blog!


  11. I agree that rejection is a character builder, but it certainly smarts at delivery. I’ll bet you smelled the sweet scent of vindication when your story was published somewhere else.

    Excellent post!


  12. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!! 😀 Popcorn doesn’t make everything better…

    I remember when I first started getting rejections. I even wrote a post about how thrilled I was to be rejected. Unhealthy? Maybe. But let’s say my wonder of rejection has worn off since then.


  13. Sometimes something terrible is more inspirational that something wonderful. I watch Cable “News” to get myself amped up through negative energy.

    My worst days are the ones before the greatest progress.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s