Rejection is hard. Even cruel at times. We’re social beings and want to be respected and accepted by other people. Rejection of our work feels especially devastating, because of all the blood, sweat and tears we put into it.
Rejection though is a natural part of our journey. We all face rejection on a fairly regular basis and I see it as a good sign that we’re actually making progress. It means that you’re pushing forward and that’s the only way to accomplish your dreams.
To make rejection a little less shattering, we’re going to take a look at ways to handle the experience and even learn something along the way.
The first step to get over feeling hurt is to simply acknowledge the fact that, yes, you or your work have been rejected. I know it hurts and I know that it is frustrating and upsetting, but take a step back and look at what actually happened.
Say you’ve handed your manuscript over to a publishing house and got a letter of refusal. What happened? There probably was a single person who received your application. This person has to look at proposals all day long and has a very short amount of time for each. So this person skims through your draft – if at all! – and makes a rather quick decision if he likes it and if it has the potential to sell. The chances of enchanting this person is quite slim, even if you’ve polished everything to a glossy shine. Just because you didn’t get to where you wanted to, doesn’t mean that your work is bad. Or that you’re a failure as a writer. A rejection is simply the feedback, that it didn’t work out this time. Which doesn’t mean that it won’t work out in the future.
I guess you know that a lot of famous authors got rejected multiple times, before they were able to publish their works. Among them are people like J.K. Rowling, Agatha Christie, Dr. Seuss and Stephen King. You’re actually in good company 😉
Once you accept your rejection as a stepping stone to your future, you can evaluate it. Try to figure out if the reason for your rejection is justified. Did you make a mistake or did your application lack something? If you can’t assess it objectively it might be clever to consult someone you trust.
If you indeed find some room for improvement, then implement it as soon as possible and try again.
If you have the chance to, ask the person who rejected you directly for some additional feedback. Whatever you learn, you can use to improve future attempts.
If you realize that you’ve done everything you can and your application simply didn’t hit home, try again with someone else.
If for some reason you get an insulting or belitteling response, bring to your attention that such pitiable behaviour mirrors that persons character and not your work. Maybe that person is feeling miserable or frustrated and used you to vent their anger. In any case, don’t take those words to heart, because it actually has nothing to do with you.
Getting rejected is nothing bad. It simply means that things didn’t work out between you and the person who rejected you under the given circumstances. It takes a lot of courage to act on your behalf and to push forward and getting rejected is a sure sign that you’re making progress. You’ve done well!
Take rejection as part of an iteration. You try, you fail, you improve, you try again. Until you win. Real failure only happens when you give up.
How do you handle rejection?
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