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Rejected: Emotional and Practical Tips to Move Forward

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Having one’s work turned down is a normal part of the writing life—we all know this intellectually. Yet how does one deal with the disappointment and even deflation that often follow? How to regain one’s momentum and restore the optimistic determination to find a home for one’s work? And how to tackle, as well, the other emotions and traits that undermine our lives as writers: envy and perfectionism, especially. In this conversation between Bonnie Friedman (Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer’s Life) and Terese Svoboda (Guggenheim recipient, author of 19 books of poetry, fiction, biography, memoir, and translation), we will discuss best strategies for maintaining productivity and keeping faith with one’s own vision in an increasingly competitive marketplace.


Bonnie Friedman is the author of three books of creative nonfiction including the widely excerpted, bestselling Writing Past Dark (HarperCollins), currently in its 28th printing, and recently named by The Center for Fiction as one of the eleven “Essential Books for Writing” and one of “The Best Books for Writers” by Poets & Writers. Her essays have appeared in PloughsharesAGNI, Lithub, and The New York Times, and have four times been selected as “Notable” in The Best American Essays.

Terese Svoboda is the author of 19 books across literary genres. She has won the Guggenheim, the Bobst Prize in fiction, the Iowa Poetry Prize, an NEH translation grant, the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, a Jerome Foundation video prize, the O. Henry Award for the short story, and a Pushcart Prize for the essay. A three-time winner of the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, she has also been awarded Headlands, Hermitage, James Merrill, Yaddo, MacDowell, and Bellagio residencies. She has two books of fiction forthcoming.

Resources from the Panelists

Bonnie Friedman:

Terese Svoboda:

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