The “You Don’t Suck” File

Rejection.

Every writer fears it. Every published author knows it intimately. Most writers/authors even keep these rejections all together in a file folder or a box.

To combat the overwhelming feeling of Look at all these people who think you’re a horrible writer. You should just give up NOW! that occurs when opening my rejection file, I’ve created a “I Don’t Suck” file.

What is an “I Don’t Suck” file?

It’s antivenom to the sting of rejection.

Mine is a file folder stuffed (well, not stuffed, but it does have some weight to it) with positive things people–especially other writers–have said about my writing.

Why do writers need an “I Don’t Suck” file?

Simple. When you are mired in despair, or looking at a fresh rejection, or thinking about giving up, you can pull out this file you’ve created for just such an occasion, open it up, and read all the good things people have said about your work.

In mine, I have various critiques of my first paragraphs, pages, chapters, and even the whole thing, encouraging email exchanges from published authors, and several of the comments from the “My Novel” section on my blog.

Most recently, I opened it to insert the judges feedback from the first writing contest I ever entered (The Heart of the West RWA contest…my score was 194 out of 200, which is cool, but the judge’s comments were worth their weight in gold for my writing self-esteem–especially since two of them were published authors.).

Why bother creating such a file?

Because rejection, if you let it, can lead you down the path of Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. Maybe I’m wasting my time. (Insert your favorite “mired in despair” comment here). 

Cure the sting and make a “I Don’t Suck” file of your own.

And finally, can rejection ever be funny? 

Yep.

Literary Rejections on Display. Funny letters, funnier comments, and by reading other writer’s rejections you’ll know you’re not alone.

10 Funniest Rejection Letters. Actual rejection letters from Mad Magazine, Disney Productions, and many more. Hilarious!

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14 thoughts on “The “You Don’t Suck” File

  1. That’s a great idea! I save all the feedback emails I have with praises. It’s really important to me when someone likes my work. I think it’s really important to always find something good about someone’s writing as positive reinforcement.
    Also I sent a rejection to the rejectionist blog and what do you know? I was accepted! they didn’t reject my rejection! lol!

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  3. I call mine an “Ego Bandaids” file, but it serves the same purpose…and OMG, it is SO NICE! I sometimes feel kinda pathetic for having it, but you know, it does help. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who has one.

    Lori
    L. A. Witt/Lauren Gallagher

  4. L.A.,

    I like the name you picked for your file and I’m so glad to see I’m not the only one who has one too!

    Christi

  5. Comfy,

    First off, LOVE your name :D.

    I’ve found my I Don’t Suck file to be nearly as valuable as my writing itself. Keeps my spirits up when rejection or other circumstances make me doubt myself.

    Glad you enjoyed the idea and I hope you get started on your own soon!

    Christi

  6. Receiving a rejection letter is like stepping in a pile of dog droppings. It stinks. It’s annoying to clean up, but it’s really no big deal. You could have stepped in something far worse, like my teenager’s bedroom. If you’ve spent any time communicating with the insiders in the publishing world you’ve realized that it is overly populated by pretentious blow-hards, the “serious literary crowd” that sat in the first row of Poetry 101, waving their hands enthusiastically at every question the instructor asked.

    Instructor: You in the back row, what’s your name?

    Sycophant in first row: I know! I know!

    These are the people who debated ad nauseam the meaning of the word “the” in the fourth line of Shelley’s A Dirge. It’s an article, you twit. Move on. You know you don’t suck because you are at home actually writing while they are preening their feathers behind a computer screen sending out prefabricated rejection letters.

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