Karen McQuestion: Every Acceptance Is A Victory

The wonderful Cynthia Harrison (who has been a dear friend to this blog and supporter of my efforts) has published an amazing interview with Karen McQuestion on writing, rejection and the power of Kindle publishing.

I strongly recommend you read the entire interview at Cynthia’s website but I just wanted to include Karen’s comments about rejection here. Hopefully they will inspire and comfort you as much as they have inspired and comforted me.

Karen McQuestion:

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been rejected overall. Hundreds? Thousands? Maybe tens of thousands. When I first started out it was so painful. I’d try to find meaning in the words (if I was a talented writer and it was a compelling story why didn’t they want it?). There were several times, usually after a near-miss, where I’d get frustrated and decide I was through with writing. That usually lasted a day or two and then I’d get another “really good idea.” Now I put my best effort out there and take rejection in stride. No one owes me publication and every acceptance is a victory. I usually submit a shorter piece fifteen to twenty times before I decide to give it a rest. And after that I may revise and send it out again. Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing.

Cynthia is the author of Your Words, Your Story (a book that arrived in my inbox two days ago and one that I am really looking forward to reading!).

2 comments… add one
  • Hi John,

    Cindy sent me the link to your site and I was delighted to see my interview mentioned. I’m glad you found my talk of rejection comforting and inspiring. 🙂 I was actually a little reluctant to go into so much detail on that subject, and Cindy did give me the option of not answering, but I’m glad I responded honestly. Rejection is a fact of life for writers and isn’t necessarily a judgment of worthiness. My essay, the one that was eventually accepted by Newsweek, had been turned down at least twenty times by other, lesser publications. It’s easy to give up, but it’s better not to because you’ll never know if you’d eventually have connected with just the right, smart editor.

    Thanks so much for the kind words. I’m bookmarking your site and will be visiting in the future.

  • Hey John,

    I see you floating around Cindy’s site a bit and thought I’d zip over here to see what’s up… and you’re right. Cindy’s interview with Karen was stellar. I know I appreciated the candor with which Karen answered (thanks Karen!) and the questions asked were spot on.

    You’ll love Cindy’s book. It has some of her earlier work (particularly loved the story about Sam the cat) and some really great tips and exercises in it. It earned a place on my ‘keep’ shelf, next to HowDunIt, Story Structure Architecht, Word Nerd and my trusty dictionary/thesaurus duet…

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