How to Handle Rejection
Rejection bites. That’s the plain and simple truth.
You pour your heart into a story and revise the heck out of it. Then you submit/query and repeat until hopefully, someone finally thinks that you have something worth publishing.
Unless you’re some sort of literary genius whose work always gets accepted on the very first submission, it can become quite a discouraging process.
Rejections are a blow to the ego. They make us question whether we possess talent or not. Whether we should keep trying or not.
It takes persistence and gumption to achieve any meaningful goal. Gaining some measure of success as a writer is no different.
Sometimes, we have to change our way of thinking about things to see past them.
Here are 3 things to remember the next time you get a rejection email or letter:
This doesn’t define you.
When our work is rejected, creatives often feel as if we’re the ones being rejected. When you pour so much of yourself into what you do, it’s only natural to think that way.
If you stop and think about it though, you realize that this isn’t true. The person evaluating your work isn’t thinking about you at all. They’re thinking about the piece of work before them and whether or not it suits their purposes.
Sometimes yours will. Sometimes it won’t.
This Doesn’t Define Your Work
A rejection response send one simple message: Do Not Want.
Unfortunately, this message feeds into our fear of failure and rejection, so what we think we’re being told is: Not Good Enough.
What if instead of “not good enough” we thought “maybe next time?”
The tiniest shift of perspective can make the difference between quitting and persisting.
You Can Learn From This
Have you ever gotten a response from an editor that included notes about part of your story that either stood out or failed to grab them?
This is probably the most useful kind of feedback you can get.
I recently got such a thoughtful response from an editor who rejected one of my stories and I was immensely grateful for the time and effort that person took share his thoughts on my work.
Not only did I understand immediately why my story just wasn’t right for that particular publication, I learned a few things that will help me as I continue to write new stories.
Here’s one final thing to remember:
Rejection is nothing in the face of a human being’s ability to persevere and progress. It’s just a stepping stone that guides us along our way.