Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dealing With Rejection

Rejection. It's one of those words that no human being alive wants to have uttered in their direction. I mean it's just a wretched, wretched word. But is there something better to call it?

How about the brush-off or maybe cold shoulder. No, those aren't any good. Lets try dismissal or exclusion. Do any of those make you feel any better. No? Okay I've got it-kick in teeth, no dice, no go, no way, slap in the face, thumbs down or veto. Okay, I'll stop, you get the point. To be denied or refused something you've worked so hard one wants that.

But when you're a writer, rejection takes on a whole new meaning. Whether it's a form rejection letter or a detailed description of why your work isn't the right fit, rejection hurts. But everyone gets rejected...and everyone has to find a way to deal with it and move on.

So how is this task achieved you ask? Well I will admit that I am no expert and I have in no way mastered this myself. But here are a few tips that have helped me through the horror that is rejection...

Step 1- Acknowledge that anyone can be rejected, no matter who they are. You must also acknowledge your own rejection in this step as well. You may not want to face that you got rejected, but you did. Remember everyone goes through it.

Step 2- Laugh, cry and get mad. But don't fight your feelings. Work through them and use them to your advantage. Whenever you feel this roller-coaster of emotions ready to boil over, sit down and write about it.

Step 3- Learn from your rejection. Yes, form letters are customary. But there are times when you get helpful advice from your rejections. I combed through each and every reply looking for the slightest hint of insight. Then I used that advice to perfect my query letter.

Step 4- Keep writing. Don't give up. The way some writers avoid rejection is to just quit writing. While that would result in putting a screeching halt to the rejections, it would also put the brakes on your dream of one day getting published. The right agent is out there. This business is subjective and all it takes is one yes!

Step 5- Keep your cool. Yell, scream, cry...whatever it takes. But do it in the privacy of your own home. Don't shoot out a reply to that agent that has just sent you a rejection. At the end of the day the publishing business is a very small world. Agents are human and they do talk. Don't shoot yourself in the foot. Keep a cool head and move on.

Step 6- Comfort food. This most important and final step in the process is a deal breaker. Whether it be chocolate, fried chicken or Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Or maybe all three...give yourself a small indulgence then plunge right back into the thick of things.

Remember each rejection brings you closer to your dream agent...if you'll let it. I used to hate it when people would say that to me. But it's the truth. The right agent is out there for everyone.

So what about all of you out there? How do you cope with rejection? Do you have any helpful tips that I've missed? I'd love to hear them!


Jen Daiker said...

Ben & Jerry's is currently stocked to the brim in my freezer. I love the mini ones, they make me feel less guilty when I eat them in one sitting.

Yeah, I know all about rejection. They've coming in more and more lately. Eek, Ouch, Ugh.

Matthew MacNish said...

Let's start calling it SUBJECTION. Because, really, honestly? It doesn't mean anything about your writing. An agent's offer to represent is based off of so much subjectivity, that we can't take it personally.

I'm going to start calling it subjection. I just got subjected.

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's all great tips. I try to take hope from the good rejections. And there are usually some. And focus more on the journey than the possibly elusive goal of getting published that I can't control. Like Matt said, it is all so subjective.

And I do appreciate my paying job where I get a lot more of "yes" and "thank you" rather than "no."

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I push myself to do better. I figure out what my weaknesses are, and work hard at strengthening them.

And yes, chocolate is involved. :D

Laura Marcella said...

Those are really great tips. Chocolate most definitely helps! And of course, keep on writing and improving and moving forward. :)

Lindsay said...

Great tips! I love the comfort food one. :)

Kelly Polark said...

Great tips. Rejection stinks, but every writer goes through it. So that is comforting. So we just keep going!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I like Matthew's twist on it: subjection. Because it is.

And it is true that rejection can happen to anybody, on any piece of writing, at any stage in their career. It doesn't hurt any less.

I'm coming up on the year anniversary of a double rejection that made me seriously consider giving up. Good thing I didn't. Yesterday, I just signed a book contract.

Work through the pain of rejection-subjection, learn what you can from each one, dig in deeper, work harder, and do not give up!

Hannah Kincade said...

#7: Watch the season premiere of The Vampire Diaries. ;)

#8: Supernatural's new season almost starts.

I'm a simple girl.

Chris Phillips said...

I had a pretty tough one a couple of weeks ago. I skipped straight to step 6, but replaced comfort food with comfort booze. btw, bid you get my facebook message?

LTM said...

great, great advice. Especially the one about don't give up. Personally, it always takes me a day or two to recover from a brush w/the Industry... LOL! But I think that's normal. ((hugs)) <3