“Carrie Has Potential, but . . . ” Dealing with rejection

Every writer hears that rejection is part of the process. You learn that you are supposed to roll with it, put them on the wall like Stephen King, collect them as badges of honor, signs that you’re getting your work out there. 

But sometimes they just suck. 

Who knows why, but one of those rejections will feel like an absolute indictment on you, your abilities, your soul. 

That happened to me this summer. 

The rejection was for something stupid, an app that runs stories like SnapChat. The rejection wasn’t even for a book, but when I read through the editor’s quick and kind-ish words, it broke me. 

“Carrie has potential, but …” 

There’s always a but, isn’t there? My 1,000-word horror story written in text form didn’t lay it out enough for the reader. This kind of writing wasn’t meant to have space to think. It was supposed to be all right there, one brief line after another. I can’t do that. I want people to have space and moments, to make their own inferences between the lines. Even when I write horror, I want it to be poem. 

“Carrie has potential, but …” 

But I didn’t achieve it? But my story didn’t have potential? But the world doesn’t need quick simple stories with gaps and holes and white space to explore? 

I sat and cried. The dogs watched. 

I sent out a text that said, “I’m depressed.”

“Gotta be happy,” came the text that came back. 

That didn’t help. Maybe my text had potential but didn’t explain the horrible hole that was stuck right in the middle of my chest where my heart was supposed to be. 

“Carrie has potential, but …” 

But I didn’t reach it? 

But I don’t write right? 

But I don’t fit with this app place? 

But I don’t fit anywhere? 

“Carrie has potential, but …”

But I don’t.

“I need a different job,” I text. 

And, yes, I texted that the same week that my last book debuted. And, yes, I texted that even though I’ve actually been successful at writing by ‘industry standards,’ whatever that means. 

I spend a lot of time wondering how I will continue to survive financially. I’m not a writer who has a wealthy significant other who supports her. I came from a long line of poor and I’m probably heading back there unless I can figure out how to reach my damn potential. And I spend a lot of time helping and hoping that other people reach theirs. 

But it’s not enough. 

There’s always a ‘but,’ isn’t there? 

Carrie has potential, but she doesn’t reach it. 

Actually, I do. I do reach it. I reach it on a million things, but maybe not for that project that time, maybe not for that genre.

Grab your potential, everyone. Move past the moments of rejection, feel them, but try not to let them crush your soul.

I know a lot of writers act like they are all joy-joy and bliss-bliss all the time. I know other writers act like writing is not as fun as snacking, or like it’s wresting demons from their souls. Some act like all they do is get rejected. Some act like all they do is be loved.

It’s both. It’s always a bunch of emotions and reactions swirling around.

On our podcast (Dogs are Smarter than People) this week (tomorrow’s), we talk about a lot of things, but we also talk about running and how it sucks so much sometimes and things hurt and how we try to run through them and not give up. 

That’s what writing and life is about, too. It’s about not giving up, going after your goals, going after your story. It is so freaking hard sometimes, but it’s worth it. 



My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!


It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 


You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 


A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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