Nobody likes rejections, but we all get them. If you're a writer, you get them by the truckload. You get them from your critique group. Readers and judges of contests give you low scores or write mean-spirited or positive, but disheartening comments. When you start querying out your manuscript, you get rejected by agents. If you finally get an agent, then you get the pleasure of being rejected by editors. Your book gets published, and then it seems like the critics are out for blood. Even with good reviews, readers reject you, sometimes on world-wide bulletin boards or chat services, sometimes when you're sitting at a table in a store and hardly anyone even makes eye contact, let alone comes over. Book stores reject you--they don't want you for a signing, or you show up for a signing and they forgot to order copies of your book. And on and on. Constant, never-ending rejection.
Why Do We Do This To Ourselves?
Excuse me. Did I say that aloud? What I meant to say was: Rejection is good for building character.
If that's the case, then I've got more characters than Jim Carrey.
But, I will say this, and it's something you already know: If you let rejection get to you, if you give up because it hurts too much, if you lose faith in yourself and in your talent, then you won't succeed.
You can learn from rejection:
1) Figure out what you did wrong, and correct it.
2) Remember, the rejection is not of you personally.
3) Sometimes the problem is not with you or your writing; it's with the person doing the rejecting.
4) Every critique, every comment, whether it's from a reader, an agent, an editor, a contest judge, or a critic, is subjective.
5) If you labor over every rejection or negative comment, you'll make yourself crazy. Let it go and move on.
Pick yourself up off the floor, file away the rejection, and write some more. Okay, I'll let you have some private time to cry, or eat a half-gallon of ice cream, or take a nap, or call a friend -- but then you have to sit your behind back in your chair and write.
Remember, there is a recipe for getting published:
Half is talent.
Half is luck.
Half is meeting the right people, networking.
Half is rewriting and rewriting and rewriting.
Half is perseverance.
Yes, I know, that's too many halves. You've got all that character built up from being rejected. You've got more than enough halves to go around.
Helen Ginger is a freelance editor, book consultant, blogger, and writer. She teaches public speaking as well as writing and marketing workshops. In addition, her free ezine, Doing It Write, which goes out to subscribers around the globe, is now in its eleventh year of publication. You can follow Helen on Twitter or catch her on February 6th at Story Circle Network’s national conference, Stories from the Heart V, where she’ll be moderating the panel on “Getting Published.”