I love rejection! Nothing motivates me to suck it up and try harder like a vigorous NO.
I am sooooo lying right now. Really, I loathe rejection. The mildest expression of negativity sends me into a dark-chocolate funk. What can I say, I’m delicate. When I saw “rejection rocks”, it rocks like a sharp chunk of concrete upside the head :(
But as much as I hate rejection, most of my rejections were richly deserved. I still have my very first rejection. Or, I should say, my first rejection that was more than echoing silence. It was a rejection on my very first manuscript from a top-tier agent. (Name redacted to protect the innocent.) It was written on the back of my SASE. For you younguns who don’t remember the United States Postal Service, SASE means “self addressed stamped envelope” which was how most rejections were served back to you — cold, late, and with a side of sticky horse hoof.
Here it is in all its creased and scotch-taped glory:
If you can’t quite decipher the handwriting, it does NOT say: OMG We LUUUURVE your work! Send us your grocery list too!
But I’m lucky the agent didn’t simply laugh herself to death. That first manuscript was 120k (and it was a romance, not epic fantasy) written across three different time period (and it was not a time travel) in everybody’s point of view, including the dormouse (and I am not Lewis Carroll). That manuscript hasn’t seen the light of day since then. Nor should it. Despite my stomping and cursing when that rejection arrived in my mailbox, today I’m relieved that story isn’t out there with my name on it. In this case, the gatekeeper was absolutely right to throw up a “You Shall Not Pass” warning.
It didn’t feel good, but that rejection and the hundred-plus since forced me to reconsider, refine, revise, and renew my resolve repeatedly.
Turns out, that was good practice for the rest of my writing. I’m a better writer and a stronger person because of those rejections. Even this flimsy one-liner on the back of an envelope.
But I still console myself with chocolate ;)
Do you have a preferred rejection consolation? Besides chocolate? I think it’s always good to have options, especially in the face of rejection.