I got my first writing rejection recently and I surprised myself by being completely okay about it.

‘Unfortunately, we don’t think this pitch suits our site.’

Those words didn’t devastate me because just pitching the story felt like a major achievement.

My background is TV journalism. I’ve never done print and I’ve been (ridiculously) nervous about putting forward story ideas in case I do it ‘wrong’. But I wanted to – oh how I wanted to.

I spent years trying to summon the willpower to start pitching.

Willpower doesn’t work.

I need specific steps to focus on, a measure of accountability and if possible, someone to encourage me.

So, I signed up for a short course with the Australian Writers’ Centre (opinion writing – it was brilliant) and within a week of completing it, I sent off my first op-ed.

It wasn’t long before I got the ‘No thanks’ email, but by then I was already focused on the next piece.

Naturally, I’d like to get this one published but if it’s another rejection, I’m not going to take it personally.

Take writing seriously not personally.

It’s the key to being productive, creative, and balanced.

I’ve always said I’m a journalist by trade acknowledging that, unlike many of my peers, I learned on the job rather than doing a journalism degree.

Now I see there’s a real plus in thinking of writing as part of my trade. It helps me detach myself as a person from what I produce. If I saw writing as my calling, I might not be able to maintain the same emotional distance.

After all that time of fear-procrastinating, it was only by taking action that I remembered how to focus on the work and not the outcome. I’d learned it in television newsrooms but somewhere along the way, I’d lost sight of it.

Having guidance really helps.

The Australian Writers’ Centre course gave me what I needed to get moving (at last). Not only did it outline the steps to follow, but it was live online with a supportive tutor so there was encouragement and accountability too.

I do the same for the women who join my Content Writing Groups – they’re part mastermind, part writing incubator, and they happen live online for an hour a week over eight weeks.

Get in touch if you want to know more or pop over to the Content Writing Group page.

Newsletters, blog posts, articles for the media – I’d love to help you get moving on your content goals.

Email sherene@sherenestrahan.com

Photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash