The Rejection Badge of Courage

I have been asked to write a post on the “Emotional Highs and Lows of Writing.” I wish the blog powers-that-be would have given me a topic I know something about.

I’m kidding. I’m a kidder.

Actually, if degrees were given for Emotional Highs and Lows of Writing, I would have a doctorate. If awards were given, I would have an Oscar. If money was doled out based on those highs and lows, I would be a zillionaire.

When I first started writing as a calling, it was pure bliss. The exhilaration of putting words on the page and finishing a piece was wonderful. Then I decided to try to get some of those pieces published.

Well, hello, emotional lows.

In those early days, I got enough rejections to wallpaper my house. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. And I have been rejected by the absolute BEST in Christian publishing.

Top-tier agents? Major publishing houses? Publishing companies in someone’s basement? Been turned down by all of them.

You can only be rejected so many times until you question yourself and your abilities. Yes, I have heard all the encouragement about rejection—it’s just not your time, your piece didn’t match their needs, it’s not a reflection of your talent. All true, but rejection still hurts.

Slowly but surely, I began getting acceptances. One year I had multiple devotions published in four different books. What an emotional high!

The next year? The lady who does my taxes asked, “Don’t you have any receipts from your writing?” I buried my chin in my chest and answered with a quiet, “No . . . but I’m trying.”

A couple of months after that encounter, I was preparing to attend a big writers conference. I had been preoccupied with my day job and found myself scrambling the week before the event to put together writing samples, one-sheets, and anything and everything else I thought I would need. I stopped for a moment and asked myself, “What am I doing? Why am I doing this?”

My agent was pitching several book proposals, with no word from anyone. Shouldn’t I just quit? Give up? Go fishing instead of to the writers conference?

I actually hate fishing, so I went to the conference, with the idea that I would cut up with my writer friends and maybe talk to some editors/publishers just for fun.

The second day of the conference, I got a call from my agent, telling me he had gotten a serious inquiry from a well-established publishing house about one of my book proposals. I had been on this roller coaster before, so I kept my emotions in check.

Another day passed, another call from my agent. “It’s looking good, but it still has to go to committee.” I wanted so much to get excited, but I suppressed those happy feelings.

The conference ended and I began the three-hour trek home, winding my way through a mountainous area with spotty cell service. Once I hit “civilization,” I stopped at a store to stretch my legs. I checked my phone and saw I had a missed call from my agent. I returned the call.

“We’re in! We’re getting a contract!”

I restrained myself from doing a happy dance in the middle of Wal-Mart.

That book, Adventures in Fatherhood (co-authored with Holland Webb), releases April 7. Proof that God is good and that there is hope in the middle of the highs and lows.

Hang in there, writer friends. It will happen.

Click-to-Tweet: Rejection hurts! “You can only be rejected so many times until you question yourself and your abilities.” The Rejection Badge of Courage – @carltonwhughes via @InspiredPrompt #writerslife #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Start a story using these three words: sunset, shovel, hardhat.


Carlton Hughes

Carlton Hughes, represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary, wears many hats. By day, he is a professor of communication. On Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings, he serves as a children’s pastor. Carlton is an empty-nesting dad and devoted husband who likes long walks on the beach, old sitcoms, and chocolate–all the chocolate. His work has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game, The Wonders of Nature, Let the Earth Rejoice, Just Breathe, So God Made a Dog, and Everyday Grace for Men. His latest book, Adventures in Fatherhood, co-authored with Holland Webb, releases April 7.

3 Questions Wednesday with Karen Jurgens

Our guest today is author, Karen Jurgens.

Formerly one of our regular bloggers, Karen is now a guest contributor here at the Writing Prompts blog. It’s my honor to welcome her to today’s 3 Questions, and congratulations, Karen, on the release of A Perfect Fit.

Readers – she’s giving away a copy of A Perfect Fit – see details below!

And now for the first question:

What inspires you?

Karen:  Interacting with people face-to-face, especially with teens and young adults, inspires me. During my teaching career, I looked forward to each day because that age group is fascinating, and they taught me as much as I taught them. These days I love to hang out with my daughters and their friends. Just knowing that there are such great young people in the world inspires me to reach out with my stories of hope for their lives, with God as their helmsman.

You sound like a people-person and a wonderful example to your daughters. Next question–

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Karen: White would be my choice because of its significance in the Bible. Our sins are washed away white as snow in the blood of the Lamb. The Bride of Christ will be clothed in fine linen, clean and bright. The armies who accompany Jesus at His return are clothed in fine linen, white and clean, and follow Him on white horses. It’s the color of purity, innocence, and goodness.

I love that, Karen. White is color in its most pure form. It’s the color of perfection–what a great choice. Now, one last question:

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Karen: I always wanted to be a teacher. As soon as I could hold a piece of chalk in my hand, I lined up my dolls in rows in front of my blackboard and taught them everything from basic arithmetic to reading. As “Teacher of the Day” in the third grade, I vividly remember dressing up and borrowing my mother’s orange beaded bracelet for the occasion. I wrote multiplication problems on the big board for the class to copy and work out. That evening, I felt so important grading their papers! I was permanently hooked.

What a cute story! (And inspiring, too). Karen, thanks so much for being our guest on today’s 3 Questions Wednesday. READERS, she has a new release, A Perfect Fit–which is actually a re-release, revised and expanded–you can read about it below. She’s giving away the e-book version here, so leave a comment to be included in the drawing. And feel free to ask Karen a question about her writing, teaching, etc.! And thanks for stopping by.

[Don’t forget to leave us a comment below to be included in the drawing]


Living in Texas for more than 30 years has been an adventure, but Karen still proudly claims her Cincinnati roots. She spent her career as a high school English and French teacher and will always be a lifelong learner. She loves everything French, especially creating gourmet cuisine for birthdays and holidays, and you will likely find French culture and language in whatever she writes.
She began a new ministry, Touched by Him, where she blogs monthly. Her passion is to share answers from God’s Word about life’s trials and to incorporate those answers into her fiction stories, especially written for women seeking God’s best in marriage.
Her greatest accomplishment has been raising two lovely daughters who are now grown and living out their own adventures. Along with her mother who is now 95, the four of them enjoy fun times together shopping, dining out, and traveling.

Click to Tweet: Karen Jurgens is a teacher, a minister, a writer, who loves to #travel and create #gourmet #cuisine. Catch her today on the Writing Prompts blog via @inspiredprompt


A Perfect Fit by Karen Jurgens

Formerly titled Desire’s Promise – Newly revised and expanded.

Carlie Livingston is steering into her last year of college in Oxford, Ohio, confident that she and Lance Holloway are headed to the altar after graduation. Those plans are wrecked, however, by her dad’s infidelity, causing her parents to walk through a messy divorce. Will she have the same fate if she marries her college sweetheart who comes from a secular family? Her mother insists she will.

She tests God’s Word by letting Him take the wheel of her life. But if God is in control, why are all her close relationships crumbling?  Nothing makes sense.

Just when it appears hopeless, Clay McKinney two-steps into Carlie’s life, promising to provide everything she’s looking for in a Christian mate. But if he’s God’s answer, why can’t her heart release Lance? Where will her final destination be on this journey of trust?

Website: https://karenjurgens.com

Fb Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/TheKarenJurgens

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenha00661653

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/karen-harrison-52aa4071

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenh2000/

Amazon author page: http://amazon.com/author/karenjurgens

A Perfect Fit Link: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Jurgens/e/B016CXTOOG

The Organized Writer

Would you like to win a $40 Etsy gift card? We have a fun way to do just that during the month of April.  We are looking for six-word stories. Yes. You heard right. We want a full story in six words.

Hemingway inspired us with his famous six-word tale, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

And the best part is we supply the first three words. So enter every Monday and Friday. At the end of April, we’ll choose our favorite. And you can go shopping…

The Organized Writer

**First published on Seriously Write, a great blog which equips writers.

By Jennifer Hallmark

Congratulations! The magazine article you worked so hard on finally sold. And they need a 100-word bio. You pull up folder after folder in your computer. Where is it?

You once had a great story idea about a basset hound, vanilla scented candles, and a high school reunion. What file did I place it in? You spend hours rummaging through paper folders crammed in a desk drawer with no luck.

Does this sound like you? I’ve struggled in the past to find many files, folders, and ideas. Though I still occasionally misplace items, over the years, I’ve developed a system. Maybe it will help you. But first, I want to show you some products that are out there for print or computer.

Paper systems

Freedom Filer-This system is versatile and you can add as much or as little as you need. And the prices are reasonable. There are also many testimonials by bloggers who like this system.

The Paper Tiger-This system is powered by Google Docs and can help you with paper or digital filing or a combination of both.

Digital systems

When it comes to filing your research for a specific book, I found this article on the ten best software systems for 2017 helpful. You can then choose which is right for you.

Here is another article again mentioning twenty-five writing software programs that might help you. Some are even free.

What do I use to organize my writing? I’ll be honest. There is so much out there, it will boggle the mind. With paper, I prefer the idea of buying certain pieces that are right for me. My desk has a hanging file drawer in it that I use for receipts and such and is very practical. I also buy clear cover binders so I can make my own cover like Marketing Tips I Like or Publishers I Want to Research. Below are some pieces I found during the research for this article that are now on my wish list. 🙂

Vertical Desktop Sorter

Vertical Desktop Organizer

Mobile Filing Cabinet

I do most of my organization now digitally. One quick word of advice here. Make sure everything is backed up. I invested in Carbonite about two years ago and I cannot tell you how much it eased my mind from the fear of losing important material. At only $5 a month, it’s been well worth my investment.

The bulk of my work is stored in My Documents on my computer. I keep a separate file for each of my blogs, each book compilation I’m involved in, and each book I have written or a book idea well-established enough to have its own file. I have a book idea file and an article idea file. I have one file entitled Good Articles on Writing by Other Writers, filled with invaluable advice I can pull up quickly.

Other important files for me are: Short Stories, Published Articles, My Newsletter, and My Book Info (which contains bios, pitches, one sheets, blurbs, etc.) I try once a year to purge files also. Get rid of files or documents no longer relevant and reorganize as needed.

For example: If you open My Newsletter, you’ll see another file for main articles. Each month, I write a new main article. By filing it, I don’t repeat ideas and might use the idea for other articles. I also have separate documents for My Master Email Subscriber List, a PDF sheet for physical signups at live events, monthly recipes, Constant Contact hints (that’s who I use to create my newsletter) and a recipe booklet I created to send to new subscribers. Everything about my newsletter in one place.

Click to tweet: What’s most important to becoming an organized writer is finding the perfect fit for you.

Whether in paper files or digital or a mixture of both, life can be much easier for the writer when time is taken to put things in order.

Writing Prompt: Jayne organized the…

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