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How to Handle Rejection and Constructive Criticism as a Freelance Writer

How to Handle Rejection and Constructive Criticism as a Freelance Writer

Freelance writing can be a rewarding and fulfilling career, allowing you to express your creativity and share your expertise with a wide audience. However, it also comes with its fair share of challenges, one of the most significant being the need to deal with rejection and constructive criticism. In this article, we will explore strategies and tips on how to handle these inevitable aspects of the freelance writing journey.

The Freelance Writing Landscape

Before delving into strategies for dealing with rejection and constructive criticism, it’s essential to understand the freelance writing landscape. As a freelance writer, you are often competing with numerous other talented individuals for assignments, clients, and publication opportunities. This competitive nature can lead to rejection, as editors or clients may choose other writers over you for various reasons.

Additionally, constructive criticism is a vital part of improving your writing skills. Editors, clients, or even readers may provide feedback to help you grow as a writer. While this feedback is meant to be helpful, it can sometimes be challenging to accept.

Rejection: A Natural Part of the Process

Rejection is a natural part of any writer’s journey, whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your career. It’s crucial to understand that rejection is not a reflection of your worth as a writer. Instead, it often results from various factors such as:

  • Fit: Sometimes, your writing style or expertise may not align with what a client or publication is looking for. It’s not a commentary on your skills but a matter of compatibility.
  • Competition: There may be many other qualified writers vying for the same opportunities, making rejection inevitable for some.
  • Budget Constraints: Clients or publications may have budget limitations and choose to hire writers who can work within those constraints.
  • Editorial Preferences: Editors have their preferences and may opt for writers who closely align with their vision for a particular piece.

Understanding these factors can help you detach your self-worth from rejection and view it as a learning opportunity.

Constructive Criticism: A Path to Improvement

Constructive criticism, on the other hand, is a valuable resource for growth and improvement as a writer. Embracing feedback can help you refine your skills, address weaknesses, and produce better-quality work. However, receiving criticism can be emotionally challenging. Here’s how to handle it effectively:

  • Stay Open-Minded: Approach constructive criticism with an open mind. Remember that the feedback is meant to help you, not criticize you personally.
  • Separate Emotions from Feedback: It’s natural to feel defensive when receiving criticism. However, try to separate your emotional response from the feedback. Take a step back and evaluate the comments objectively.
  • Ask for Clarification: If the feedback is vague or unclear, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. This demonstrates your commitment to improvement and a willingness to understand the critique.
  • Focus on Specifics: Look for specific areas of improvement mentioned in the feedback and prioritize them in your revisions.
  • Learn and Apply: Use the feedback as a learning opportunity. Apply the suggestions provided to your future writing projects.

Strategies for Handling Rejection

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of understanding rejection and constructive criticism, let’s explore strategies for effectively handling rejection in your freelance writing career:

1. Develop Resilience

Resilience is a valuable trait for any freelance writer. Understand that rejection is a common occurrence in this field and does not diminish your talent or potential. Cultivate resilience by reminding yourself of your achievements, seeking support from fellow writers, and maintaining a positive mindset.

2. Diversify Your Client Base

Relying on a single client or publication for your income can make rejection feel more significant. Diversify your client base by actively seeking new opportunities. Having multiple clients can cushion the impact of rejection and provide you with a broader range of experiences.

3. Continuous Learning

Stay committed to improving your writing skills. Continuous learning can help you become a better writer, making it more likely for clients and publications to choose your work. Attend writing workshops, read widely, and practice regularly.

4. Analyze Rejection Feedback

When you receive a rejection, take the opportunity to analyze any feedback provided. Even if the feedback is minimal, try to extract valuable insights that can guide your future submissions.

5. Keep Submitting

Don’t let one rejection discourage you. Keep submitting your work to different clients and publications. Persistence often leads to success in the freelance writing world.

Strategies for Handling Constructive Criticism

Now, let’s explore strategies for effectively handling constructive criticism:

1. Accept That It’s Part of Growth

Remember that constructive criticism is an integral part of your growth as a writer. Embrace it as an opportunity to become better at your craft.

2. Develop a Growth Mindset

Adopt a growth mindset, which means viewing challenges and feedback as opportunities for improvement. Believe that your abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.

3. Seek Multiple Opinions

Don’t rely solely on one source of feedback. Seek opinions from different editors, clients, or fellow writers to gain a more comprehensive perspective on your work.

4. Revise and Reapply

After receiving constructive criticism, don’t hesitate to revise your work based on the feedback. Applying the suggested changes shows your commitment to improvement.

5. Build a Support Network

Connect with other writers who can provide emotional support and guidance during challenging times. Sharing experiences and insights with peers can make the process of handling criticism more manageable.


As a freelance writer, dealing with rejection and constructive criticism is an essential aspect of your career. Instead of viewing these challenges as setbacks, see them as opportunities for growth and improvement. By developing resilience, staying open-minded, and continuously learning, you can navigate these hurdles with confidence and emerge as a stronger and more accomplished writer. Embrace the journey, and remember that each rejection and each piece of constructive criticism brings you one step closer to success in your freelance writing career.