I just watched a wonderful video created by Diane Callahan, a literary writer and editor.
In it, she talks about three pieces of writing advice that changed her life.
The one that tops her list… Aim for Rejection.
Diane talks about how in 2017, she made 11 literary submissions. In 2018, she made 15. In 2019, she submitted 157 times. Whoa… that’s a huge difference!
The thing that changed was she set a “rejection” goal. Her goal in 2019 was to get 100 rejections from respectable, paying literary markets.
That meant she had to submit more of her work. As part of her goal, she committed to giving herself the very best chance of being accepted with each submission. That meant studying submission guidelines and past publications. It meant doing her best work and taking time to polish and edit it. It also meant watching for deadlines and getting her work submitted in time to be considered. Which meant finishing more of her work.
By setting a rejection goal, Diane became a better and more prolific writer. She also saw more of her work get published and got paid more for her efforts.
Now, Diane’s talking about literary works. Short stories… essays… poetry.
But the underlying lesson applies just as well to landing web-writing assignments.
What if you set a goal to get 100 rejections on project pitches in the next year? Even better, what if you only counted the rejections where the person you contacted replies to say, No thanks?
You’d have to send out at least 100 pitches and project queries to hit that mark. And, if part of your goal was to commit to doing your research on each company and crafting your very best pitch tailored to their needs… I’d be willing to bet that in the process of sending those 100 pitches, you’d land at least a yes or two… if not more.
A couple of additional benefits…
A well-crafted pitch that reaches a company when they don’t have a current need could result in a referral or a future yes.
You’ll gain a lot of practice at writing pitches and queries, and that will only make it easier to land work in the future.
You’ll begin to realize — and really believe — that getting a rejection is not the end of the world. It’s not even the end of your writing career!
Setting a “rejection” goal is a strategy well worth considering in the coming year.
Oh, and give Diane’s video a watch. I bet you’ll come away inspired!
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That’s all for now. Make it a great week!