By Lindsay Bandy
Jeanne had one….
Samantha had one (okay it was an evil cousin, but you get the idea)…
And yes, that magical lady “Acceptance” has one…. (queue villainous music)…
Every writer and artist has had a run-in or two (or fifty) with Rejection. And oh, she can cause all kinds of trouble. She plays tricks on us, messes with our heads, makes us doubt ourselves, and causes us to consider giving up. Rejection is hard, but inevitable. It’s been one of the common themes in our Café Chats, and Nancy Viau and Emily Feinberg have reminded us to keep the path, take criticism well, and press on. But how?
This is easier said than done when it comes to the intensely personal and emotionally charged process of creation. Everyone tells you it’s inevitable, but somehow you still find yourself curled up with a quart of Chunky Monkey and a Meg Ryan movie.
So, I suggest having a “Rejection Plan” in place. Plan to receive them, and plan to not give up. I don’t know about you, but uncertainty freaks me out. This may be a personal problem, but I feel much better with a plan in place, even if it’s just a plan to deal with uncertainty! So, here are a few examples of my own:
- Within 24 hours of receiving a “no thanks,” sit down to write again. Do the work you love and work on improving it.
- Always be waiting on a “yes.” Have multiple submissions out there so that one “no” isn’t the end of the road. Keep hope alive and keep putting yourself out there.
- Focus on real life. Yup, you know, the people you love who love you, the wondrous parts of life that will be there whether the golden ticket comes or not. Take a walk holding hands with your sweetie. Rub your dog’s belly. Visit your grandma. Blow bubbles in your milk.
- Read, read, read. Pick up an old favorite, something new and different, books on the craft, and words of wisdom from those who’ve been there before. Keep enjoying, growing, researching, and improving. It’s not a race. It’s a learning process. And it should be fun! Don’t let rejections steal the joy and excitement you feel in reading a wonderful book that touches your heart or your funny bone.
- Watch a really awful movie and remind yourself that your writing with never be THAT bad.
And, remember that EVERYONE has to deal with it. Even J.K. Rowling. So, here are a few quotes from people more famous than me to help pull you through bouts of those rejection blues…
- “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.” – Stephen King (Who coincidentally had so many rejection letters he ran out of room for them on the nail in his wall, so he replaced the nail with a spike and kept writing!)
- “Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them.” -Isaac Asimov
- “Rejected pieces aren’t failures; unwritten pieces are.” -Greg Daugherty
- “A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” – Bo Bennett
- “This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address’. Just keep looking for the right address.” -Barbara Kingslover
- “You are never given a dream without being given the power to make it true.” -Richard Bach
What works for you?
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