Facing Rejection... And Writing a Better Article
You're staring down at your hands. The letter you've waited anxiously the past week for has finally arrived. You nimbly tear open the yellow envelope only to be greeted with the same familiar words:
Your Neopian Times submission (______) was rejected because we had too many good entries in this category this week and there was not enough room for them all. Please try again next week.
The Neopets Team
A small lump forms in your throat as you attempt to hold back your tears
Oh well, Next week perhaps? You sigh to yourself.
Rejection is something every Neopian has had to face. Whether it be a submission to the Neopian Times, an offer at the Mystery Island Trading Post, a Neopet trade offer, the list goes on. In light of the recent 650th issue and my own past experience with accepting rejection (issue 600, issue 550, issue 500, issue 450...you get the idea), this article will hopefully help you deal with a recent rejection.
So, without further ado, onward to my very own Top Ten Tips on Facing Rejection (and writing a better article)!
10. Accept your rejection
What do you mean there were too many good entries this week! Don't you have room for one more? Was my article really that bad? This is a phrase I have said to myself many...many times, and I've learned that sometimes, it's not that your article or comic is bad, sometimes there really were too many good entries that week. When you find yourself in this situation, wait for the issue you submitted to that week to be released and take a look at the content published. Some of the entries might blow you away!
9. Find Inspiration
I am hoping that you followed the advice given in the above tip, because if you are, that means you have taken a look at some of the articles published recently. Are you feeling inspired? Good, because that is the next step in dealing with rejection. Do not let one little rejection letter diminish your passion for writing, rather, use it as motivation. Look up new words, try more complex sentences, take a risk and write in that kooky character you were uncertain about! The possibilities are endless, sometimes you just need a little push and a rejection letter can do just that!
8. Plan it to the max!
Once you have your inspiration, it can be tempting to just write and write and write. I have found, both in Neopian Times articles and term papers for school, that resisting that temptation and planning it out a bit can really save you some extra work and time! If you are the kind of writer that works best my just letting the inspiration flow, which is certainly fine. Personally, I am a creature of habit and thrive with structure. Naming your paragraphs and sections is quite helpful. Additionally, when you are writing stories and including characters, having their personal information easily accessible to you is a must, especially when you are working on an ongoing series! Staying consistent with character and article information is key!
7. Stop Writing
Wait...what do you mean? I didn't think I was that bad...
Trust me, you are not that bad... Rejection affects everyone differently, some more so than others. Sometimes taking a break is best. When your mind and body are revitalised, writing will be a much more enjoyable activity, so don't be afraid to step away from your article and play some Meerca Chase or take a nap.
6. Don't Procrastinate
Breaks are fantastic and definitely recommended, but don't leave too much time in between writing articles. It can be hard to muster up that motivation and inspiration we talked about back in step 9! Plus, if you wait too long to write, that really great idea you had a few weeks ago will only be so-so when you forget half the plot line.
Now that you have your idea, plans, Meerca Chase fix, the only thing left to do is write! While you are writing, think about the types of words your phrases you enjoy reading. Is your character western-themed? Write as though "you bin talkin' like a kauboy for yeeahrrrs yee-haw!" Authenticity is key in making a character more believable and relatable. Additionally, being descriptive is a great way to paint a picture for your readers. Keep in mind though that there is such thing as being too descriptive. Finding a balance between the two is important and may be difficult at first, but the more you write, the closer you will be to finding that balance.
4. Edit, edit , edit!
You can have a great writing plan, fantastic characters, and a winning story idea, but if you submission is difficult to read, it definitely will not be accepted. Make sure your paragraphs are broken up appropriately as nobody likes a giant wall of text, ensure that you start a new paragraph after a character has spoken, and for any HTML commands such as bolding, italicising, or inserting an image, be sure to use square brackets when submitting (I have forgotten this multiple times) and that you are following proper HTML rules. You could have a wonderful article, but if you use the wrong type of tags, it will be rejected unfortunately.
3. Read your article
Hooray, your article is complete! Now all that's left to do is read it.
But wait, I already wrote it and edited it. Why do I have to read it? I know exactly what happens.
Good point, anonymous italicised text, good point.
Reading your article after you write it is probably the most important step. In order to be a successful author, you have to experience how your audience will interpret your work. If you can, carefully read your article through as though you know nothing of the subject. This can be difficult, so if you find yourself skipping lines or having a hard time focussing, ask a friend or family member to give it a read. They can let you know if they need more information or if something does not make sense to them. Just remember, in order to submit to the Neopian Times, it must be your own work!
2. Be Confident
Submitting another article can be a scary thought after a rejection letter (or...you know...five rejection letters), so be confident and believe in yourself and your writing abilities. You poured your heart and soul and grammatical skills into this, you will be accepted! Be proud of your work whether it gets accepted of not, and remember there's always next week.
Wait...wasn't 'Acceptance' the first item on this list? Why yes, yes it was, and now we've come full circle only with a bit of a change in perspective.
The truly best way to move on after a rejection is to have another piece of work accepted. Of course, this required hard work, either revising a rejected entry or developing a whole new idea, but I guarantee you will be glad you invested those few extra hours as there is no sweeter taste than being published in the Neopian Times. You will 100% forget about that silly old rejection letter you got a few days ago and will surely be on your way to being a successful published writer.
Well, that concludes my Top Ten Tips on Facing Rejection (and writing a better article). If you have recently experienced a rejection of any sort, know that rejections are only temporary setbacks and can be a great motivation if you look at it through the right lens! I hope that you found this list useful in both your Neopian writing career and any other place in your life where a bit of motivation is needed.
Cheers to the good articles and to making them even better!