My Rejection Spike


Once upon an adventure in procrastination, I found some truly stellar advice on how to deal with rejection: Get a spike.

Rejection letters are a necessary part of life, both in writing and in so many other realms in which we seek acceptance. And let me first say that I really do respect all editors. They have a tough job, and I appreciate the time they take to consider my work. I feel no anger towards them if my story wasn’t a good fit.

However, there is nothing that feels quite so satisfying as taking that symbol of failure and watching a hunk of sharpened metal rip through it.

As far as closure is concerned, this method has been a gold medal winner for me. Once the rejection is spiked, it’s time to dust myself off and either rewrite the story, or send it somewhere else. When I spike the rejection, it pulverizes the lingering sensation of ‘I’m not good enough.’ It’s symbolically proving to myself that I am stronger than the piece of paper.

Also, it is unbelievably fun!

This is my writing spike:


When I decided I wanted one, I found a formidable-looking railway spike (Don’t worry, I didn’t pull it out of the tracks or anything) and sharpened it, and added those red-paint drips (because why not?). You can’t really see, but the spike is also mounted in a wooden block.

It sits in my writing space, and as the papers grow upon it, I am reminded of how far I’ve come. It’s not a symbol of how often I’ve failed. It’s a symbol of how often I’ve made the decision to get back up from failure, and that makes all the difference.

Candles 092714



I just wanted to boost the signal about the awesome idea of getting a spike, hoping that it will help some of you like it did for me. If anyone has a tried-and-true method of coping with rejection, feel free to pass it on in the comments!


22 responses »

  1. Well, you can certainly read about my journey of writing and how I got my books finally published, if you like on my blog home page. Rejection letters are certainly part of the journey, unless you go down the route of self-publishing. Wishing you the best of success 🙂

  2. I’ve heard of this before. Stephen King had one. I’m worried for myself it would become a tangible reminder of failure instead of a growth chart. Besides, in the age of e-queries, it seems like too much trouble to print those rejections off. 🙂

    • Yeah, it all definitely depends on how you look at it. And I tooootally get the hassle of printing the e-rejects. I tend to hoard them for a while, and then print a bunch at once and have a spiking party. (Which is good fun, let me tell you!)

  3. None of my rejections are on paper! Everything’s electronic, so I have a rejection spreadsheet, I guess. And there are a lot of “no”s on it. I highlight the lines where my notes say “pages sent on (this date)” as opposed to “no”.

  4. I’m not yet at the point of receiving rejections (or acceptances, for that matter :P), but I would so love to get a spike when that time comes! Better yet, I’d love a pet dragon to burn the letter to ashes. That would be fun. Sadly though, my local pet store doesn’t sell dragons so I guess I’ll have to settle for the spike 😉 Thanks for sharing!

    • (Awww… guys, did you see that? Someone called me wise! *blushes*) Thanks! I’d definitely recommend giving it a try. It’s somehow more satisfying than just throwing them away or deleting the e-mail.

    • Please do 🙂 It’s so VERY cathartic! And I actually didn’t know about Stephen King. (It’s hard to imagine him having any rejection letters, but even the greats trudged through this bog when they started.)

      • Stephen King actually ran out of space on his and had to get another one before he got anything published! So take heart, the number of rejections just shows how hard you’re trying 🙂

  5. Fantastic idea. Who wouldn’t want to feel like they are channelling Buffy? Now if only those rejections would turn into a satisfying pile of ash. 🙂 Keep fighting the good fight, my friend!


    I would be terrified of spiking my own hand though because in a world where I’ve dropped underwear in my toaster before accidents happen to me a lot.

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