8 ways to deal with rejection like a rhino
By Carole Lyden
Has your writing ever been rejected?
I’m betting yes.
So how did that make you feel?
Are you still nursing that burning sense of humiliation and injustice that stops you dead in your tracks from ever wanting to put yourself in that position again?
New writers often fall in love with their own writing and suffer badly when the reality check of putting their writing out there does not match their optimistic expectations.
To help you get over rejection — and we all experience it — here are 8 sure-fire ways to deal with it — and grow as a writer.
1. Get real.
If you’re a writer who puts her work out there, you will have to learn to face rejection. Rejection is part and parcel of the life of a writer. Accept that and it will become easier for you do deal with. [Note from Linda: I'd say 30% to 50% of my ideas have been rejected!]
Rejection of your work can be disappointing and yet it should not crush you from moving on with your dream of being a writer. If it does you need to reflect on why? What does rejection of your work mean to you? Do you feel like a failure, do you resent others’ success? If you do, it may be helpful to seek therapy to help you deal with low self-esteem issues that will keep surfacing in your life until you deal with them.
3. Cut the umbilical cord.
Detach and step back — remember, your writing is not you. Rejection of your work is not a personal rejection of you, though it can feel bad for a short while.
4. Don’t take it personally.
Rejection of your work doesn’t necessarily mean that it is no good. It’s likely to be nothing whatsoever to do with merit. It could be that the editor is having a bad day. Or it could be that the subject of your article is not topical or has recently been published. It could also be that the magazine or blog has decided that it wants to encourage a different readership.
5. Learn from it.
Rejections can have value for you. They are a gift. Learn from them. When you get a rejection, try to analyze and critique your own work. Could you have done anything differently?
6. Use rejection to open doors.
Not all rejections are equal. If an editor gives a few pointers as to how your work could be enhanced, take her up on it, rewrite and send it back to her. If an editor adds a personal comment about your work, don’t make it too long before you send another well-researched query her way.
7. Consider rejection a war medal.
Save up all your rejection slips and keep them as war medals for a wounded writer. Proudly show them off to prove your commitment to your profession.
8. Keep going.
To increase your chances of success, try to have as many queries circulating to editors as you can. The more queries you send out, the more chance you have of securing an acceptance — and the less painful any one rejection will be.
Writing is a job like any other and needs to be approached with realistic expectations. Don’t let rejection color the rest of your performance as a writer.
Treat every rejection as a one-off. Learn from the experience, refocus and move on.
Bio: I am Carole Lyden, freelance writer and psychotherapist. I specialise in writing about psychotherapy, mental health, personal development and women’s issues. I am particularly concerned and disillusioned about the negative predicament of the mental health system in Australia today. I blog at Psyche Buzz.