Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Theresa Stillwagon on Rejections

I met Theresa through my current publisher, Desert Breeze Publishing. She's on today to talk about something all us writers are familiar with...rejections. The big "OUCH" moment when you click on the email and get the dreaded no on a piece you put part of your soul into.

I checked my e-mails and found another one.

Another rejection.

Of course it’s not my first, yet this one really hurt. It was a rejection for one of the books I’d previously contracted for with an electronic publisher. That particular publisher closed up shop for new releases and I regained the rights to the book. I guess I let myself believe the story was so wonderful no one could possibly pass it up. I was wrong. I actually cried after reading the e-mail. I literally cried. In fact as soon as I saw the editor’s name, I sensed I didn’t want to read it. I just knew it wasn’t going to be good news.

I got tired of it all. I’d been writing for over twenty years and I still had nothing to show for it. I felt like just giving up. Never before had I allowed another person’s words so much control over my emotions. Why bother writing anymore at all? Why put myself through the millions of downs for one tiny up? Why not just say ‘I tried’ and let it all go? Why waste the next twenty years of my life trying to fulfill a dream I should've let go of a long time ago?

Then I'd realized something important–I love writing. I could no more stop writing than stop breathing. It’s in my blood, in my heart and soul. I need to write.

And I’d realized something else–I’m not a bad writer because yet another person didn’t like my story. I’m not a bad writer because I’ve gotten yet another rejection. I’m not a bad writer. Even I realize now this particular book is not one of my best. I lost the last half of the book when my hard drive died on me so I had to rewrite it. While rewriting it, I decided to change a bunch of things around to make it shorter. My writing is so much better now because of all the extra work I did on this book.

And that rejection wasn’t all bad either. The editor had left me with some nice comments and articles on how I can fix the problems she found in the manuscript. The majority of which, thanks to a bunch of wonderful ladies who'd critique my work, I was already aware of.

No, I didn’t plan on giving up.

And I didn't.

That happened five years ago, and now I write for three different publishers. I have three books out and a fourth coming out in April. This book happens to be book one in a series of five.

So no matter what happens, never give up on your dreams. It may take a while to achieve them, but you never will if you give up trying.

About the Author:
Theresa Stillwagon has been writing most of her life. Since one of her teachers praised a poem she wrote for a class assignment, she's been putting words together in the hopes of seeing them in print. Not caring if anyone other than herself ever read them. Her dreams came to reality in 2008 when she signed her first writing contract. She's now just signed her fourth one and isn't looking back.

A former resident of the state of Ohio, Theresa now lives in her RV in the sunny city of Savannah, Georgia with her husband of twenty-seven years, Mike, and her two cats, Fred and Barney. She's currently seeking for a job while still hard at work on her next romance

Find out more about her journey at

What about your journey? Have you ever wanted to give up?


  1. Very inspiring post, Teresa. I think it's wonderful that you persevered. Way to go!

  2. Thanks, Amber for allowing me to rant today.
    And Jillian, I'm glad I persevered to.

  3. Good for you, Theresa! Way to stick with it. I don't mind constructive rejections so much. Everyone has different tastes, after all. What I find really frustrating is the rejections from agents and editors based on a query only. I can't help thinking, if only they'd actually read my book!!

  4. Teresa, I've had many, many rejections both before and after finally being published. My last one was from my editor on a new novel I'd resubmitted to her after she rejected it once and sent me a revision request. I worked long and hard on it, then resubmitted, hoping for the best, but got another rejection with yet another revision request. But this is an editor I worked with on other books and she really improved my stories and writing, so I revised again and it's now in her ball-court again. Still hoping for the best and still writing other stories.

    I did just get a couple of contracts for short stories, so that always helps, and I'm working on a couple of novellas and more shorts. I think the idea is to just keep writing and submitting. What else can you do?

  5. Great post, Theresa! I loved the way you reminded us to write for the joy of it.

    Thanks for the encouragement~

  6. Theresa! Thank you so much for coming by today! SOrry I didn't reply earlier...computer issues.

    I agree all, very inspiring and encouraging.

    @ Susan - Oh boy! What a journey you've gone through, but sounds like the end will be worth while. Keep us all posted!

    And I agree just keep writing.

  7. Oh that first rejection! And the next and the next. I was crushed! And then suddenly a publisher wants to read a little more. The excitement builds - and then more rejection. But a stubborn person, I forged on and, finally, an editor wanted the whole story - and then the contract. Hang in there. Eventually you'll find a perfect fit.

  8. Wonderful post. A rejection letter is crushing and I've had my share. I'm glad you didn't give up.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  9. I've been told many times publication does not really validate you as a writer and I know that, but a rejection still hurts. Love how you preserved and am inspired by it!

  10. Your (quote):"Then I'd realized something important–I love writing. I could no more stop writing than stop breathing. It’s in my blood, in my heart and soul. I need to write." says it ALL, Theresa, and well said!!

    So enjoyed your encouraging post.

    Hugs, Kari Thomas