Becoming More Lizard-like (Another Ode to Writing Rejection)


“Tell me about your childhood!”


Hello there!

It’s me, your epidermally abundant friend, sharing my latest literary brush-off with you from my neck of the (red)woods.

Yes, I’m developing a thicker skin, and it even grew a few millimeters more overnight!

At least in my most recent turndown, a different one than what I wrote about last week, I knew there was a strong chance my submission would be rejected. Even so, I felt stung upon receiving the news.  

The same-old thoughts paced frantically through my brain which included You’re not good enough!, Why even bother?, and of course the classic:

Your writing sucks! 

Then I switched gears.

I reminded myself that my writing reflects who I am, and no one else can create rambling prose quite the way I do! Simplistic as that may sound, it comforts me.

The editor who rejected my writing is just one person. With her own subjectivityIt’s not like a panel of twenty experts decided my writing wasn’t up to snuff.

I licked my ego wounds. I vented a bit around the house and sat down at my laptop. My writing muse/collie Lucy promptly sat gently and warmly in her special spot, which is upon my foot. I felt better than I thought I would.

I started writing again. It was the best antidote to literary rejection besides chocolate.


For fun, I grabbed my mental surfboard to go online surfing to review  famous author rejection letters. I came across these excerpts from Writer’s Relief. One excerpt falls in the WTF category – can you guess what # it is?

  1. Sylvia Plath: There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.
  2. Rudyard Kipling: I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.
  3. J. G. Ballard: The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.
  4. Emily Dickinson: [Your poems] are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.
  5. Ernest Hemingway (regarding The Torrents of Spring): It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.

Writer’s Relief Inc.’s blog post “How to Interpret Rejection Letters from Literary Agents And Editors” is worth a visit. I especially like the opening paragraph:

Rejection letters from literary agents and editors of literary journals can be discouraging—especially impersonal, one-line form letters. But rejection is a necessary part of the writing process, and creative writers should know how to interpret the information in rejection letters and then use this knowledge to improve their submissions.

Sounds good to me.

As my loyal friend, hilarious visionary and former Good Times editor, the gifted author Greg Archer, often says:




I’m now on Instagram! You can follow me here: birthofanewbrain

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth)will be published by   Post Hill Press in Fall, 2017.


27 thoughts on “Becoming More Lizard-like (Another Ode to Writing Rejection)

  1. That was such a clever thing to research in the aftermath of a rejection. Why is it so much easier to say I don’t care what they think than it is to actually not care all the way down into your bones.

    I think you’re story of your striving is inspiring. I love that you are sharing it with all of us.

    When you put your heart into your writing the rejections will always sting. But if you’re not going to put your heart into your writing you shouldn’t write.

    • I LOVE this comment!!!!

      Thank you for noting that my blogging about this not-so-glam aspect of writing isn’t bringing you down, but (to my delight) it’s inspiring you! Personally, I love to read others’ journeys with what Tony Bourdain calls the “nasty bits” – i.e. the subjects of rejection, envy/jealousy, and more. (Although Bourdain was referring mainly to the all the bits of a cow or other animals that people don’t usually eat in our country)

      I know you get it.

      If I can help anyone feel a little better about rejection of any kind, I’ll be stoked. (You can take the girl out of 1980’s L.A…..)


      p.s. I’ll keep sharing more, because I’m going to put myself out there more – at least it keeps me out of bed. That’s huge.

  2. Rejection does sting, and knowing that we whose writing has been rejected are in the company of truly great writers does indeed soften the blow. Thanks for the quotes. Onward!

    • See what I wrote in response to Van above….
      p.s. you’re more than welcome and thanks for commenting; I love each & every one!
      p.p.s. it’s great to finally be on Instagram and follow you there :))))

  3. Hello , Granny Phia here! Just read your blog Dyane. Yes, even with an MRI that looks like the brain of a 65 year old accd to the DR. I can still make comments.
    Rejection is part of life! Starting with early childhood and onto adolescence and adulthood it is with us always/ just waiting there to make sure we don’t get too cocky. Why your own father , a man of many talents was rejected in some if jud auditions but had a most successful career as you know.
    So move on. You know you are a gifted writer.

  4. I have to say that I am impressed that you are enough of a writer that you get rejection letters!! It would never dawn on me to submit myself somewhere. So, goddamn, Dyane!! I’m impressed!!

  5. Like another commenter said, rejection stinks but it means you’re putting your work out there. Bravo! You are a talented writer, and I for one, admire your persistence. Keep doing what you do. You inspire me, my friend.

  6. This is precisely the attitude writers need when it comes to managing rejection letters. I got a stack of them in my day. Perhaps for me the most crucial point you mention was remembering the subjectivity of this game, that it’s ONE PERSON’S reaction, THAT MOMENT, to your writing. Whether that reader likes it or not is of no consequence: You must keep fighting the good fight.

    • THANK YOU Merry…….for “getting it! ” in all ways, shapes and forms.
      I’m so lucky that you’ve been reading and providing your one-of-a-kind take on writing and just about every thing else 😉 that I value so much – your words always ring true.

      I won’t stop submitting – it’s just one of those strange compulsions! 😉

      Your Honey Pot

      • Believe me, I know all about those compulsions. Mine are quieting as I am oldening! You seem to be riding a crest, so enjoy it and remember to take care of YOU!
        Love & a hug,

  7. I just read this two most especially: Sylvia Plath: There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.
    Rudyard Kipling: I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language…. and I was like why my fair Lady has not received any exactly like this 🙂 She rocks and that lone editor who rejected her work don’t 🙂

    • Marie, my loyal friend. Thank you so much for this comment – I will see if the editor I wrote about rejects my work again, and if it’s a no, then I’ll have to state for the record that the editor does NOT rock!
      I’ll let you know! sending you hugs and our very special favorite: patience!!!!!! XOXOXOX

  8. For a while, Writer’s Digest had a back page column of fake rejection letters to famous novels, written by WD readers/writers. The more outrageous and funnier, the better. I recall one for The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, chastising him for promoting obesity with his gluttonous protagonist. The column was quite a cheer-me-upper!

    I’m sorry your piece was rejected, but, hey, that’s one step closer to acceptance!

    • OMG – LOVE IT!!!!! Promoting obesity via Carle’s book? That was a good one!
      I love your perspective about rejection – “one step close to acceptance” – I like it, Laura!

  9. I haven’t been rejected cos I haven’t tried getting published. But I do get the same feeling when I post something I think is awesome and like 3 people read it. But I push on because my blog is for my own pleasure, not just to share experiences with others.

    • Hey charlottewessels!

      Thanks for your awesome comment! I’m so glad you keep on going with your blog – yes, do it for yourself! That is what will keep you blogging for the long-term. It’s a wonderful thing to do and I truly think it promotes mental health. Take care, happy blogging, and thanks for stopping by! 🙂


  10. you know what my favorite thing is? Taking something someone rejected, tweaking it and sending it somewhere better! This works really well if a substantial amount of time has passed between point a and point b. Stephen King wrote about how he recycled something rejected from someone back to a second attempt at Alfred Hitchcock’s mystery magazine after he’d gotten a few other credits, although small ones, credits just the same, and how ironic he found it that the same person that rejected you one year may look at you in another year in a whole new light! lolol!

    • Girl, you know your stuff! You really are a brainiac! 😉 Thanks for always writing such fascinating posts that are on-point! 👍 you are cool!!!!!

    • p.s. Hitchcock used to own a house in Scotts Valley next to my town of Ben Lomond!!!! I think it’s now a winery…..and they don’t advertise the Hitchcock angle – weird, eh?

  11. Pingback: The 9th Time’s The Charm (A Writing Rejection Fairytale) – Birth of a New Brain

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