What Keeps Me Going

Freelance working from home can be a lonely and emotional pursuit. The nervous anticipation of pitching an article idea only to be rejected is tough for me, and even a fairly standard editing process can bring me close to tears. You really have to wonder why someone so sensitive to criticism and intolerant of failure would have chosen this career!

Today I thought I’d pick out a few achievements or words of encouragement that have kept me going through some of the stress and disappointment of recent months.

Polite rejections from newspapers that can’t hire freelancers:

“Dear Rebecca, You are more than qualified. No problem there. But we are operating on such a strict budget that to pay freelancers is just not in the cards. I hope you have better luck with other papers. It’s such a satisfying thing to do – reviewing.” (I quite agree.)

“As much as I would like to work with someone with your depth of knowledge, my freelance budget is fairly restricted right now … I do hope you’re able to find outlets for your work. The world needs more smart critics.”

Kind words from editors I’ve worked with for a long time now:

“Hi Rebecca, I don’t think I tell you often enough what a great job I think you’re doing. It’s always a pleasure to read your reviews!”

“Hi Rebecca, Thanks for yet another well-written, thoughtful review!”

“Thanks, again, for all that you do!” (Simple, but it meant a lot.)

Compliments from an editor I’ve only done a couple reviews for:

(Explaining a delay in putting the review online) “Sorry about that. There’s a possibility it could run on the 10th, but it would require editing it down for size, which I don’t want to do. It is too well written. Not enough fat on it :)”

“You’re a real pro. Thanks for such clean copy.”

Thanks from an author, via a Goodreads message:

“I was so pleased with your insightful and generous review of my new book. Very touched to read it today!”

top 1%And, from Goodreads the other day (for what it’s worth!):

“Hello Rebecca, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You’re one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! Reading reviews by book lovers like you is one of our favorite things on Goodreads. Thank you for helping other readers find a good (or avoid a not-so-good!) book.”


Of course, you – my blog/Goodreads readers and commenters – are also a big source of reassurance and good cheer. Thank you so much for reading and engaging with my work!

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8 thoughts on “What Keeps Me Going

  1. Wow, hon. I didn’t know you had gotten rejections, or felt them so keenly. I shouldn’t be surprised, though. Artists and actors have to put up with it all the time. I love you, and I think you’re GREAT!! Your Marm

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    1. Last summer I systematically sent queries to all the U.S. newspapers I could think of. It resulted in a lot of silence, and all of one Yes (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Since then I haven’t attempted to break into many new publications, apart from LARB. It’s just too stressful to have to get a query e-mail together and then wait for a reply. I feel safer sticking with the publications I know. Maybe later on this year I’ll try writing to all the major newspapers in the UK.

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  2. I’m sorry you have such a tough time–but your reviews are lovely.

    I spend quite a bit of time having my work (fiction/poetry) rejected. I invested in rejection chocolate–nothing crazy expensive, but better than Hershey’s—and have one piece for every rejection. Takes the sting out of it, a bit.

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  3. That is fantastic feedback, so impressed! Now I can say I’m best friends with a top 1% reviewer ;). Rejection is rough, as a writer I honestly can’t stand it but the kind words make all the difference over time, that’s for sure. Keep up the amazing work and hopefully you’ll be able to review my second novel one of these days!

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