Every writer gets rejected. It doesn't matter how many books you've written or how many you've sold. There's no way of getting around it. I remember an interview with Barbara Streisand, and she said if someone rejected her for a project, the onus was on the producers for failing to recognize her talent and ability. Paraphrasing, “What, are they nuts?” I like that.
Editors and producers don’t know what they want until they see it. It’s kind of like pornography as defined by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, “I know it when you see it.” Gatekeepers don’t know what they want until they see it.
However, that doesn’t soften the sting of rejection.
Dealing with rejection is a difficult skill, but it is essential. Everyone experiences rejection at some point, whether in the form of a job application not being accepted, a romantic interest was not reciprocating feelings, or a friend group excluding someone. While rejection can be painful, it is essential to remember that it is a normal part of life and that there are ways to deal with it healthily.
Allow yourself to feel your emotions.
The first step in dealing with rejection is to allow yourself to feel your emotions. Feeling sad, angry, disappointed, or even humiliated after rejection is normal. Acknowledging your feelings and allowing yourself to grieve the loss of what you were hoping for is essential. Trying to suppress your emotions will only worsen them in the long run.
Don't take it personally.
It is important to remember that rejection is not a reflection of your worth as an artist. It simply means that the situation was not right for you. Try not to take rejection personally, and don't beat yourself up. Everyone, even the most successful people, is rejected at some point.
Learn from the experience.
If possible, try to learn from your experience of rejection. Was there anything you could have done differently? Was there something you could have done to prepare better? What did you learn about yourself and what you want? Taking the time to reflect on your experience can help you grow and learn from it.
Talk to someone you trust.
Talking to someone you trust about your experience of rejection can be helpful. This could be a friend, family member, therapist, or anyone you feel comfortable talking to. Talking about your feelings can help you process them and feel less alone.
Once you have allowed yourself to feel your emotions, learned from the experience, and talked to someone you trust, it is time to move on. Please don't dwell on the rejection or let it define you. Pick yourself up and keep going. There are many other opportunities out there waiting for you.
Here are some additional tips for dealing with rejection:
- Reframe your perspective. Instead of seeing rejection as a failure, try to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Think about what you can learn from the experience and how you can use that knowledge to improve your chances of success in the future.
- Focus on your strengths. Make a list of your positive qualities and accomplishments. This will help you remember that you are valuable even if an editor or publisher rejects your project.
- Be patient. It takes time to heal from rejection. Don't expect to feel better overnight. Be patient and give yourself time to grieve the loss of what you were hoping for.
- Celebrate your successes. When you do achieve something, take the time to celebrate your success. This will help you build self-confidence and remind yourself that you can achieve your goals.
Rejection is a normal part of the writing life, but it can be challenging to deal with. By following these tips, you can learn to cope with rejection healthily and move on to bigger and better things.