I didn’t plan on 2015 beginning with a rejection letter. I’m a writer. I should know better. But there I was, barely awake from New Year’s Eve revelry and putting away the Christmas decorations, reading my first rejection letter of the year. ‘C’mon!’ I thought. ‘Not this year. Not again.’ But as I mentioned earlier, I’m a writer. I should know better.
And now, a week or so later, I’m still wondering why that first rejection letter of this year literally knocked the wind out of my writing sails. Maybe it’s because I’ve been at this for so long now that all the writing gods and muses should be smiling on me and dancing joyously whenever I send out a manuscript. Maybe it’s because by now I thought I’d have agents knocking on my door and editors who loved me so much there’d be a stack of contracts just waiting for my hot little signature. But I’m a writer, and I really should know better.
We all get wounded in this business, but for someone like me, who has a really thick skin when it comes to rejection, and a hitch-up-your-big-girl overalls-and-move-on attitude about what I do, this came as a complete shock. Silly I know.
But it’s OK to let that happen to you every now and again. You might as well feel what you’re feeling rather than pretend it doesn’t hurt you right where you live. I’m not naïve enough to believe that my writing is always good, marketable and sellable at the same time, but this manuscript is. I know because that’s what I’ve been told over and over again.
So there you have it. Even crazy, sensible me has difficult writer days. I thought they were all behind me. But I’m a writer, and I really should know better. The key is not to let having a difficult writing day turn into a horrible writing week, month or year. It is what it is- one bad day. And if nothing else, I’m learning to give myself a break and have those days when I need them. I’m older and wiser (I hope), and I know that my happiness does not hinge on what’s in that email or envelope. If it did, I would have given up years ago.
So in honor of rejections, here are some great quotes from great writers to pull you out of your bad writing day and motivate you to keep trying. Cheers!
“This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address’. Just keep looking for the right address.” – Barbara Kingsolver
“Rejections slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them.” – Isaac Asimov
“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” – Sylvia Plath
“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.” – Ray Bradbury
“Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” – Neil Gaiman
Sensibility- Let yourself feel what you feel. Suppressing your disappointment when rejections comes isn’t healthy for your mind or your body.
Sense- Give yourself exactly 24 hours to grieve when a rejection comes. Then eat some chocolate and get that manuscript back out there.
What is your best rejection so far?