Jessica Shelley

storyteller, poet, bookworm

100 rejections.

Updated: Jan 31, 2019


I first discovered #100rejections by poet and lecturer, Christina Thatcher over at @writetoempower - a wonderful writer. And I was in complete and utter awe at this notion she was describing of aiming for 100 rejections. At first, it sounds really terrifying but between this idea there is a kind of silent word - and that word is hope.


The original article, which I will link below, written by Kim Liao over at Lit Hub, came across this method by a good friend who always seemed to be accepted into every publication, mentorship and residency she applied to. Liao asked her what her secret was. And this is what she replied...


"Collect rejections. Set rejection goals. I know someone who shoots for one hundred rejections in a year, because if you work that hard to get so many rejections, you’re sure to get a few acceptances, too."


Like Lioa this small piece of advice, struck a chord with me too. Fear cropped up like a hungry ghost and my inner child was jumping on my trampoline chest. I was delighted at the idea and scared beyond belief. But hope, ah that lovely feather, pulled me in. The prospect filled up my creative soul and called out like a challenge. Which, I am equally parts nervous and delighted to say, I will be accepting for 2019.



Lioa collected her rejections letters in a pile. Special one's with feedback were taped on her window. But with huge gusto and impulse, she shellacked all her rejection letters to a second-hand desk she found on the street - which then became her beautiful writing desk.


"Since I’ve started aiming for rejections, not acceptances, I no longer dread submitting. I don’t flinch (much) when I receive inevitable form rejection emails. Instead of tucking my story or essay apologetically into a bottle and desperately casting it out to sea, I launch determined air raids of submission grenades, five or ten at a time. I wait for the rejections, line up my next tier of journals, and submit again."



I've never done anything like this before. But already I can feel more courage in my steps. Faith over fear will be my rallying cry. And maybe one day along this exciting road, I will develop the thirst for shellacking.


Will you call to the challenge of your dreams friend? Will you bring forth, as Elizabeth Gilbert says, the hidden gems that have laid waiting inside of you. Will join me in #100rejections?


Love Jess. x




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