Honest confession: I just got a rejection on a full and it has me in a funk. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, I thought I’d use the situation to pose this question today: How do you as a writer handle rejection?
Do you curl up into the fetal position and insist you’ll never write again? Do you push your manuscript aside, and start on a new project, trying to avoid the pain altogether? Or do you pull up your big boy or big girl pants and settle in for another round of edits and revisions, knowing the pain only makes you stronger.
Honestly, I fall into all three categories. At first, rejection to me is like a punch in the stomach. I instantly think of myself as a hack and want to throw in the towel. Than an hour or two passes and I’m back at my laptop, trying to work on something new. But a day later, the story I love is sucking me back into its deep realm, promising with just a few edits that this one will be THE ONE an agent will want.
I console myself during these periods with several things:
1) I know and have interviewed many published authors who have had their share of rejection. I find solace in the fact that some had to write 3, 4, even 5 manuscripts before they got an agent. Their stories always buoy my confidence and give me a sense of hope.
2) Agent validation helps. Even though the rejection comes with a “this is not for me” response, many have commented on the strength of my story and writing. In my darker periods, I go back to these emails and reread those responses, trying to convince myself I’m on the right path.
3) Surround myself with people who are going through the same thing. When writer friends, who I know are talented, are getting those rejections too, it makes me feel less alone in the giant world of publishing.
So writers, I’d like to know how you handle rejection? Do you feel like giving up on the dream sometimes? Do you ever wonder why you’re putting yourself through this self-inflicted torture? What are your coping mechanisms to help push you through the hard times? Please share with me in the comments. I know we could all learn from each other.