Rejection Makes Us Writers


Writers are constantly being judged by their work, and naturally that means a regular stream of rejection. But not all rejections are bad. Over at Vol. 1 Brooklyn, JS Breukelaar looks back at past rejections and considers why rejection is sometimes important:

Rejection is the content and context of this life that has chosen us and it forces us to face-off with our doubts and grow stronger. A writing group buddy has been facing off with the demon all year—last week she found out that a forgotten work has been selected for Best Australian Short Stories 2015, and the editor wants to see her unpublished novel. Rejection makes us mad but it also make us kind, literally. It drives us to follow the smell of Pinot Grigio to its source, to extend a hand to our demon-diminished sister or brother, and take a swig, even if we wish it was vodka. Here you are, I will say to my student when I find him. I accept your rejection. You’re one of us now.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →