Rejection is an ugly word, especially to a writer. But we need to keep it in perspective.
I have a pair of lovely leather shoes. I really like my shoes. They are stylish, look good with many types of clothing, and are comfortable to wear for many hours. I love, love, love my shoes.
A few months ago, I noticed my shoes were beginning to look worn out and were no longer attractive to wear with dress pants. I thought about purchasing another pair of shoes, and then I had the bright idea to bring them to a shoe repairman. The repairman put new heels on my shoes, polished the leather, and blackened the soles. After some effort and work, my leather shoes are spiffed up and look as good as new.
Now, if I offered my shoes to someone and they don’t love them like I do, should I be heartbroken? Does their rejection of my shoes make me less of a person? Does it make my shoes less attractive? Does it make me less worthy?
Think about it, I bet my shoes wouldn’t fit just anyone. They wouldn’t be right for a number of people with different tastes and different needs. But that doesn’t make my shoes less valuable or less worthy.
That’s the way I look at rejection. My manuscript (shoes) is polished and ready to go out into the world. But perhaps the agent/editor (consumer) needs a different size or is looking for a different style. It’s easy to look at the situation from this perspective and see that it’s not always personal when your manuscript (shoes) is rejected! Sometimes the rejection is not about the story or craft but for other reasons, some of them simply being reasons of timing.
Rejection is an ugly word, especially to a writer. But we need to keep it in perspective. If we’ve been gifted/called to write, then we should keep writing and polishing our manuscripts. After all, many successful writers have suffered rejection.
Now that you’ve gotten the fear of rejection out of your mind, put your new confidence to the test by planning to attend a writer’s conference this year. Many writers will testify that their career got on the fast track after they attended their first conference. You meet other writers, editors, agents, and learn about the craft and the industry at conferences. Your competence and enthusiasm for your writing gets a great boost by attending conferences.
Don’t stress about rejection, keep moving forward in your career.
How do you shrug off rejection? How do you keep it in perspective?