Rejection: There is never a good day to get bad news.
In the spirit of All Hallows Eve, I was asked to share something that scares me about publishing. I chose my least favorite thing: REJECTION.
Here is how I define REJECTION: The email of doom, the sound of silence. You’re still not good enough to be in the club. Better luck next time, you wannabe. Are you ready to quit yet?
Here are some of the things contest judges have told me about my writing:
“You write like Ben Stein talks, which you should not take as a compliment.”
“I hate your hero!!!! He humiliated the heroine by reading her private fantasies and then making them come true.”
“There are books on writing. You should invest in a few of them.”
“That could never happen.” (It was based on a true life story.)
I’ve had a lot of rejection in the five years I’ve been writing. I’ve learned my skin will never be thick enough and next to a perfect score sheet or a gushing compliment, a pitiful score sheet or a harsh word will always be the one that is remembered.
I accept and understand that wallowing in the bad news is a pity party for one. And sometimes, I’m okay with that, but it isn’t proactive or helpful unless I see the same critique over and over again. If I do, I take it under consideration and I try not to it take it to heart.
Rejection is like anything you don’t like: a root canal, killing a big gnarly spider dangling over your head, speaking to five hundred people, driving on ice, etc. You do it enough and maybe you start to get past the initial knee jerk reaction. When that bad news comes there are things that I do to immediately lift my spirits. I’ll have a cocktail, call a friend, take a walk or grab a can of Raid, because this publishing journey isn’t for the weak of heart or spirit.
In the wake of rejection, I always challenge myself to take positive action. I’ll read a book on grammar or read another author’s book who has published in my genre. I look at the books on my shelf and know that there is a real human behind each and every one of those tangible objects. Last winter I listened to twenty-three audiobooks by Pulitzer Winning Author, John Sandford because I liked the way he writes dialogue. It took a couple of months, but I learned the cadence of his dialogue and found it paid off in my writing.
Most of all, it is imperative to send out another email to an agent or enter a contest that has a final judge you’d like to meet.
I face my fears with the unwavering confidence that good things come to those who work hard, show tenacity and define patience. Remember, every day has just as much potential for good news as bad.
To quote Nora Roberts: “Butt in the chair, eyes on the screen and your head in the story.”
Anything else isn’t writing.
Now get out there and do something good for your career!