Posted by Retta Casavant
Writing involves rejection. A LOT of rejection.
Freelance writers who are continually on the hunt for their next paid gig, spend a good portion of their time either applying for jobs, bidding on jobs or applying to freelance agencies. Rejection comes in several forms here: actual “no thank you, you are not what we’re looking for” emails, or most likely lack of any response at all.
Those working on books must jump through hoops and face thorough rejection just to get an AGENT, let alone get looked at by a publishing house! Gone are the days of “hiring an agent” to help you get published! Now you must prepare very short, precise (yet remarkable!) letters intended to hook an agent’s attention for more than a millisecond just to get a toenail in the door in order to eventually, perhaps get a whole toe in the door of an actual publisher. You’ll probably receive more rejection trying to find an agent than you will anywhere else in your writing career!
That ugly, ugly “R” word seems to be around every corner and is a constant unwanted companion of even the most successful writers! What that means is, if you are going to continue writing, you shall have to find a way to acknowledge rejection, shake hands with him and accept that he’s coming along on your journey.
After the Handshake
Ok, if that’s the way it has to be…..rejection is here for the duration. Now, you’d best find some ways to deal with his presence.
While you may not want to take him to lunch or a movie, he can actually be a pretty useful friend for teaching you things. Let him help you go over what you are doing and find any commonalities in the “no thank you” responses you are getting. Find out what other writers are doing differently that may help you change your approach.
Occasionally, you can allow rejection to have his peeps over and you can have a little party. A pity party where moping and whining are perfectly acceptable. You have worked hard and no-one is finding value in what you’ve produced or CAN produce if just given the chance! The key here is that this party must not last very long. Set a timer and when it buzzes, usher rejection and his buddies out the door and lock it firmly behind them so that you can get refocused.
Polish the Bubble
Now, you need to polish the protective bubble of creativity again. This is a good time to go over your past successes. Remember your accomplishments and how far you’ve come in your journey. It’s also a good time to focus on “playing the long game”, “keeping your eye on the prize” and all the other platitudes that actually do fit this circumstance!
Be kind to yourself and remember that at least you tried. If you don’t try, you most certainly never will get what it is you want so badly.
Onwards and Upwards!
Now, you can unlock the door, look rejection in the eye and let him back in to watch your TV and eat your food. Ignore him. You know he’s there but you have work to do. Get doing it. Keep doing it. Do not stop doing it, even knowing this may well be a vicious cycle.
Try to see this cycle more as a spiral…..one where each turn takes you higher and closer to reaching your goal.