Lesson time 12:12 min
Rejection is a fact of life if you want to be a writer. Learn how Judy overcame her doubts when the letters piled up—and how she used rejection to fuel her determination.
Topics include: Learn to Deal With It • Let Rejection Fuel Determination • Remember How Far You’ve Come • Don’t Be Ruled by Fear • Face the Reviews • Look for Positive in the Negative
Rejection is a fact of life if you want to be a writer. It's never easy, it's painful. But you know, I think determination is every bit as important as talent. You can have all the talent in the world, and if you can't take it, the rejection, negative reviews, you're just not going to do it. You're going to stop. So I took a writing class and started sending things in very quickly, and for two years, I got rejections back. The first rejection sent me into the closet for a good cry. And after that I determined. I said, yeah, well, OK. Maybe they didn't like that one, but wait till they see the one that I'm doing next, and that's going to change it. And then not to wait, not to send something in and wait to see about rejection, but to just start working on something new I think is the best therapy, because then you're involved in another story. And you can say to yourself, well, maybe they didn't like that one, but wait till they see this. So, it is a fact of life. And it's never easy, but I think you just have to learn to deal with it. I know that the early rejections that I had made me much more determined. I went from being a crybaby to being determined. I can do this. They might not know it yet, but they'll say, I'm going to do this. I know I'm going to do this. And so I think that's an important attitude. And attitude is a lot. Some people are so turned off by any kind of criticism that it paralyzes them, and they can't do it again. It's so funny about my rejection letters. I have kept all my rejection letters. I think I have a folder with every one of them. I had a letter from a semiprofessional very, very early on. That husband knew somebody, who knew somebody, and sent an early picture book manuscript to him. And he wrote me a letter an onion skin-- that's that thin, thin paper that we used to use. It must have been three pages long, but I just remember how it started. I'm sure you were a really nice girl, Judy, but get out your hanky and get ready to have a good cry, because you just can't write. Ah, I'm sure you're a nice girl. I had someone else once tell me, you're a nice girl Judy, but you'll never be a writer. That really makes me feel good now, right? We know-- those were both guys, of course. OK, I have a series of rejection letters from the precursor of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, which was a short book called Peter Fudge and Dribble. And this is from a company called Parents Magazine Press that I had read about. "Dear, Ms. Bloom, This is a very good story, well written, and with mood sustained right to the end." I wrote in the margins, wow. "Unfortunately, I'm not sure it is a children's story. I think parents would dig the humor of the situation more than children would. Give it a try, in any case." This was then considered by me a fabulous rejection letter. If you get an...
Judy Blume broke the rules. Her refreshingly honest children’s books were banned by hundreds of libraries and loved by generations of readers, who bought 85 million copies of classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge. In her first online writing class, the award-winning author teaches you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure.
Loved hearing Judy talk about her journey. It was uplifting to not hear her harp too much on the do's and do not's of writing. It was more authentic to see her love of her work, and how it still impacts her emotionally. This class was a joy to watch.
This class has confirmed so many things in my heart about my writing process and encouraged me to put myself out there and go for it!
Judy Blume is a stellar teacher, to be sure, but she wasn't performative in the least. She was who she was and didn't hide her emotions. This humanized someone whose work I admired for so long. One of the best classes I've taken here or anywhere.
What an inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing your time and expertise!