Monday, December 10, 2018

The Importance of Being Persistent

My first rejection came in the mail before I turned ten. I had written a story about a police officer and his dog--from the viewpoint of the dog--and sent it to the New Yorker. The rejection came a couple of months later, along with a coupon for a free year's subscription to the magazine. I should have seen it as a harbinger of things to come, but I didn't, remaining blissfully unaware of my fate for forty-five years.

I don't mean to imply that I've had more than my fair share of rejection, but I have had my share. Every writer does. Rejection is simply part and parcel of the business; the part and parcel that every writer hates. But it's a necessary part all the same. Every rejection I've had--after the crying and the stomping of the feet--has led to improvement. There is no better incentive to get better, to hone your craft, than the soul-sucking experience of rejection and the desire not to experience it again.

The other nice part about rejection? It makes the acceptance all the sweeter when it finally comes. And mine finally came. I will take a second to tell you how sweet it was. I honestly felt like I was floating. So many feelings coursed through me--elation, relief, excitement--but the primary one was vindication. After dozens of literary agents, agency readers and interns, editors and publishers have implied that you weren't quite good enough, you get confirmation that you are. And it is confirmation, because every writer knows they can write, that all they need is a chance. They'd have to believe in themselves to keep going despite all the passes and rejections, the seemingly endless stream of bad news.

And that's my lesson to every writer who wants to be published. Keep believing, keep writing, and keep querying. Persist. I suspect this salient advice for anyone trying to do anything, but it is especially germane to the writer in 2018. Persist. Don't let rejection define you as a writer. Keep at it.

I did. Forty-five years after my first rejection at the ago of 9, I am soon to be a published author; The Intern (TouchPoint Press) comes out in 2019. I hope you don't have wait that long, but I will say one thing:

It was worth the wait.

Cheers, peter

Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include The Intern, coming in 2019 from TouchPoint Press; ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; and THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of three tribes on Triberr, The Big ThrillFiction Writers and The Book Shelf. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and fouchildren--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at

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