A Little Pep Talk On Freelance Writing Rejection

A boy sitting on a step with a closed laptop

Rejection is hard to deal with, but it shouldn’t be something that causes major problems for you as a freelance writer.

One of the things I see regularly, particularly with new freelance writers (and I know I’m tarring everyone with the same brush here, so apologies.  I do understand not everyone is the same, this is purely based on my own experiences), is that they give off the impression people owe them something when they don’t get a gig.

I’m not saying their writing quality doesn’t mean they don’t deserve regular gigs that pay well or that they do absolutely nothing to develop in their career to get work, but they seem to find it extremely difficult to get up after being knocked down.

There’s no doubt that rejection is difficult – whether that’s in your personal life or writing career – but particularly in the latter, it’s likely to be something that you face regularly.

It doesn’t matter how good of a writer you are, the simple fact is some people aren’t going to like your style. They’re not going to enjoy the approach you bring to the copy produced and they’re going to think the content created is unsuitable for their audience.

Whether they’re right or wrong, it’s difficult to be told that someone doesn’t like your work (or even worse, that they hate it).

It does get easier the more you write, as you come to understand that it’s not often your writing that’s the problem, but the client’s expectations.  When you understand this, you start to find it easier to recover from rejection.

Don’t get me wrong, when someone tells you they don’t like something you’ve spent hours producing, it doesn’t matter how thick skinned or experienced you are, it’s going to hurt at least a little.

But the difference with experienced writers when compared to their newer counterparts is they can shrug it off. They don’t dwell on it too much and they move on, effectively sweeping it under the carpet until it goes away.

They don’t expect others to instantly give them a project because of this rejection and they don’t assume that someone will throw a bit of easy work their way to help them get over this ‘blip’.

Which – in my experience – is completely the opposite to many new freelance writers.

They moan and they complain. They’re angry and they’re frustrated, but upset and concerned at the same time.  They think the client is completely wrong, but their confidence has taken such a hit that they’re constantly analysing their work, questioning their knowledge and experience.

And as a result of this, they often believe that they are owed something. A piece of work. A small project. Something to balance out the negativity of the rejection.  Yeah, sure, someone might be able to push some work in your direction, but it’s not the way to approach rejection in your freelance writing career.

I love writing and I love the opportunities it has presented to me so far – but it can be an extremely lonely career.

You can network, engage and interact with others regularly, but at the end of the day, you have to stand on your own two feet at all times, through the good and bad.

It might upset you and make you feel particularly frustrated at times. You’ll no doubt shed a tear and want to give it all in at some points, but the most important point is that you learn and grow from these times.

And with rejection often the lowest you can get in your freelance writing career, it might not be great to deal with on your own, but by doing so you’re almost guaranteed to become a better and more successful freelance writer.

PS – I’m aware that this post comes across as me being a bit annoyed or that I’m ‘having a go’. I really don’t mean it to be. When I think back to when I first started writing, I realise I sometimes needed a kick up the backside or a reality check and something like this would have done wonders for me back then.

About Dan Smith

Dan Smith is a seasoned freelance writer, currently working as the SEO Specialist for digital media agency Zine.  With a strong focus on developing strategies that are based heavily on high quality content, Dan always has one eye on the customer experience and has a distinct (dis)ability of being unable to say no.