Rejection Bites! (Bite Back!)
It doesn’t matter how it is delivered or from whom it originates, when rejection arrives it’s like a meteor strike to the heart, to the ego, and worst of all, to the head.
Even when we’re expecting it, rejection wreaks havoc with our heads, doesn’t it? It roils up all sorts of negative self-talk that is more devastating than the rejection itself. Writers do it all the time.
Okay, okay. This writer does it all the time.
I received a hard rejection the other day—hard because, even though I knew this particular submission was a long shot, I still hoped it would come through. I wasn’t even a little surprised when it didn’t, but it still hurt. It didn’t help that it was what we writers call “a fantastic rejection.” What that means is that it wasn’t a form rejection. It was a personal message detailing everything this person loved about the manuscript, but on final review she felt it wasn’t character driven enough for her tastes. This surprised me—and if you’ve read my books, it might surprise you as well—but no matter. The only opinion to hold water under these circumstances is that of the person reviewing the submission.
Do this writing/submitting thing long enough, and you will collect your fair share of rejections. They all sting, even though we know this is a subjective business. Remember last week’s post about one man’s trash being another man’s treasure? Well, writing and submitting is just like that. What one person loves another will not, and that’s why we have to let the rejections roll off of us. We have to develop ways to learn from them and then toss them overboard. If we carry them with us, the weight will eventually bring us to a stop. A stopped writer does not produce work, and at the end of the day, buttercup, it is all about the work—and not just the work, but a body of work. You cannot produce a body of work if you’re stopped by rejections. Truthfully, no matter your profession, you cannot let rejections hold you back.
It doesn’t really help to know that Mr. Famous Author received 5,376 rejections before his novel was published. It’s a nice gee-whiz kind of thing, but let’s face it, knowing that doesn’t ease the pain of the rejection letter sitting in our own in-box.
But here’s this week’s Naked Truth: There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. The Universe delivers that light in many different forms. Sometimes it’s an acceptance on the heels of a rejection. Sometimes it’s an unexpected comment from a reader. Those are the ones I like the best, as happened yesterday when a new reader told me she loved my book, Love Built to Last, so much that she accidentally woke her hubby at three a.m. He thought the sun was coming up. Nope. It was her book light. 🙂 If there is a cure for authors trapped in their own headspace, believe me, that’s it.
This is a subjective business. Rejections happen. So cry in your wine for a day or so. Gorge on chocolate and potato chips (I can personally recommend both of these methods). Examine the rejection and take from it what you can—there is always something to be learned. After that, cut it loose. Let it go.
And then sit your ass in front of the keyboard and get back to work.
How do you handle rejection when it arrives on your doorstep? What helps you push past the disappointment?
Thanks for reading. I’ll see you next week!
Romance is good for your heart! To purchase your copy of Love Built to Last, Love to Believe, or Love to Win in eBook or print just click the book cover on this blog’s sidebar. Autographed copies are available for purchase on my HOME page. 🙂 And audio versions are in the works!