Facing Rejection and Asking Yourself: Are You Ready For the Yes? by Lisa Towles

Facing Rejection and Asking Yourself: Are You Ready For the Yes? by Lisa TowlesLet’s welcome back Lisa Towles as she shares with us “Facing Rejection and Asking Yourself: Are You Ready For the Yes?” Enjoy!


Are your heart and mind primed for receiving that publishing Yes you’ve been working toward for so long? Not so much?  

Woman smiling

In my last self-care post, I talked about the power of saying no and the impact this can have on writers’ well-being. 

This month, I want to talk about something native to all writers regardless of where you are on your publishing journey – rejections. 

By rejections, I mean the notifications writers get from agents, publishers, or magazines when a submitted piece of work is not selected for publication. 

Maybe you’ve got one or two manuscripts you’ve been shopping around to long lists of potential literary agents, publishers, magazines or journals. 

If you’ve been shouldering (or avoiding?) the disappointment of rejections, you might wonder if you’re actually ready to receive a yes. 

I know what you’re thinking: Why wouldn’t I be ready? 

If you’re laser-focused on who’s rejecting your work and why, especially over a long period, you might wonder if you even know how to receive the yes you’ve been waiting for and how to process and celebrate good news. 

If your heart and mind aren’t primed and calibrated for success, you could miss an opportunity in disguise. 

While we might intellectually understand that there are more writers than available publishing outlets and rejections are necessary and normal, that doesn’t change the distress we experience when it happens. 

Facing Rejections

How do you handle rejection? 

Woman gazing

What happens when you get a rejection from one of those potential matches for your work? Writers seem to fall generally into one of two categories: 

  • Taking the rejection personally, numbing ourselves and withdrawing from writing and our supportive community.
    It’s often hard to re-motivate and get back in the swing when that happens.
    Rejections can leave us feeling like our work is under-valued, unappreciated, or sub-par, and too often we extend that into more generalized feelings of unworthiness.
  • Ignoring the rejection and plodding forward with the next mail-out to the next agent or publisher, without any reflection on the feelings the rejection has caused. 

There might be a better way 

Person at sundown

Consciously confronting your rejection-related feelings can do wonders to cultivate self-appreciation, compassion, and authenticity. 

This doesn’t mean wallowing in sadness for a week. 

Even five minutes of mindful self-reflection and care can change your whole vibe about your writing path and goals.  

You can also use that cadence to pause and re-assess. 

Is your query letter/package exactly the way you want it? 

Or is now a good time to tweak it? 

Bringing the highest quality to the content you’re sending out gives you more confidence when you’re approaching industry professionals in a competitive landscape with your work.

Have you done your due diligence by strategically matching your manuscript with agents you’ve confirmed are looking for your type of book?

Manuscript Wish List and QueryTracker are two of the most up-to-date resources available. 

Both sites enable you to create a profile, log submissions, and filter your search for agents looking for the type of work you write.   

Rejection Has Some Advantages 


How about growing a thicker skin? 

That adaptation has notable advantages to not only your writing career but to relationship-building, assertiveness, and negotiation.  

  • Through rejection, you’ll develop experience with the process of sending your work and build a healthy resilience that strengthens you for the next mail-out 
  • Rejection could motivate you to review, refine, and improve your work 
  • This could also be an opportunity to reassess the targets on your path. Is where you’re headed really where you ultimately want to end up?
  • It can also help reaffirm your passion for writing and your publication goals

For me, the most important advantage of rejections are that they remind me that I don’t need to be perfect. 

Preparing for that YES

How to prepare yourself to RECEIVE 

  • Be intentional about what you want (a publishing contract?)
  • Make it tangible and visible


  • Use affirmations to encourage yourself, stay pumped about the challenge, acknowledge the success you’ve already earned, and give yourself permission for more success

Post it

  • Picture yourself receiving (and even signing) a publishing contract 


  • Imagine how you’ll feel when it happens 

Happy woman

By starting to expect success, you’re preparing your mind and heart for receiving the acceptance you’re working toward. Energy attracts more energy. 

If you spend time thinking about and planning for success, it will come. 

Try Putting the Cart Before the Horse 

So while you’re priming your mindset, you could pre-write a Twitter success post as if you had already received your contract from a publisher or literary agent. 

“So excited to announce that I’ve finally landed a contract with the literary agent I most want to work with. Persistence pays off!” 

By doing this, you’re readying yourself for the next phase in your writing career, which might look like signing with your dream agent, getting a publishing contract, connecting with the editor you’ve been dying to work with, or getting your story accepted for publication in a paying magazine.  

Being pragmatic and strategic about how you go about sending your work out to the world narrows the playing field and targets your efforts to those you know can get you to the next level. 

But more importantly, be real with yourself about what you want, why you want it, and the advantages of your desired result. 

How is rejection related to strategic self-care?  

By acknowledging the feelings that come up when you receive a rejection, you’re caring for yourself in a way that nurtures a deep and vulnerable part. 

Strategy comes from what you do next – re-targeting your search, reworking your manuscript, or taking a short break to get some space. 

All of these are tangible forms of self-care that will help you understand yourself better and manifest more of what you ultimately want. 



Lisa TowlesLisa Towles is an award-winning Bay Area crime novelist and a passionate speaker on the topics of creativity, fiction writing, and strategic self care. Her upcoming thriller, Hot House, will be published by Indies United Publishing on June 15, 2022, and her last thriller, Ninety-Five, was published in November 2021. Her books have won numerous literary awards. Lisa attributes part of her success to the fellowship and support she gets from membership in Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Lisa has an MBA in IT Management. In addition to writing, she also works full time in the tech industry. Check out Hot House on her publisher’s website (indiesunited.net/hot-house) to read a sample, watch the book trailer, and read editorial reviews. You can also pre-order it on Amazon.

Connect with Lisa Towles 

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