Anyone who's been writing for a while has known rejection. Whether an unaccepted article or book query, a polite decline from an agent, an unkind blog comment, or a bad book/article review, rejection can be hard to swallow. It stings. And it sometimes creates an argument in your head. True story: I had a mental conversation with the person that posted the two star Amazon review for my book. I felt my head was the best locale because a) I don't know them and b) I'm too polite to say anything if I did know them, and c) sometimes it's just better to keep your mouth shut.
While we know that rejection is part of life and serves to help build character, it can make us doubt our abilities. We might be hesitant to submit again, finish that story, contact a potential freelance client, speak at a writer's workshop, or to just write anything at all. It might even make us hesitate to stick our heads outside ever again. (Okay, maybe that's just a tad dramatic.)
When our confidence wavers, so can productivity. So how can we move past the sting of rejection?
1) Keep it in perspective - Rejection does not mean you are a lousy writer. It means that whatever you wrote this time around was not suited to the market, readership, publication, reviewer, etc. Not everything you write will be everyone's cup of tea. And that's okay.
Despite this rejection, the sun will still rise and set tomorrow. Your family, friends, and pets still love you. God still loves you. You are here for a purpose, and wallowing around in rejection for great lengths of time does nothing to help you live life to the fullest.
2) Recall and value past accomplishments - Did you finish that writing class you took last year? Did you attend and meet other scribes at the writing conference? Was your poem published in the church bulletin? Did that children's riddle get accepted? Does your blog have followers? Did you have an answer to that writing question someone asked you?
Recall past successes, writing related or not, no matter how small. No need to get a big head here, but celebrating the positive can refresh and rejuvenate our mindset. Remember too, that you're on this earth for a purpose. You can affect those around you for good. A kind word or gesture can go a long way. Technically "published" or not, you still have something good to say.
3) Keep moving forward - Like falling off a bicycle, it's important to hop back on and get going again. Write a story, submit a guest post to a friend's blog, or research that topic and turn it into an article. Take a class or brush up on grammar skills. Experiment with another genre. Meet existing obligations. Just keep moving, learning, and polishing your skills. We don't lose until we quit.
Author Ann Gabhart said, "Rejection is not fatal." She's right. While it's an unpleasant part of life, we can use it as a catalyst, onward and upward to new and better things.
What helps you work through rejection?
Photo credit: Free Images
Photo credit: Free Images