Your pointer finger hangs in the balance, hovering over your mouse. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Your eyes slim, focused with severely magical thinking. If I hold my breath, spin around three times, and close my eyes before clicking the innocent white envelope icon on my desktop, there will be an offer in my inbox today, right?
You bite your bottom lip, sneaking a peek at the first line of your only email today:
“I’m afraid your project just didn’t fully resonate…blah-blah-blah…”
A few choice words pummel their way out of your mouth. _ _ _ _! _ _ _ _! _ _ _ _! (Feel free to fill in the blanks.) Your eyes well up and heart flutters from the umpteenth coffee you drank, building up the courage to open up your stupid email in the first place.
Rejection is harsh. I mean, it really, really, bites! And unfortunately, even magical thinking won’t help thwart the knocks and bumps on your way toward writing success.
Now that you’ve been rejected, again, you have a few options:
- Toss yourself on the floor, kick and scream, cross your heart and hope to die, and swear that you’ll never write another word in your life. I don’t recommend this, but if you absolutely have to, do it front of the kids and watch the horror drip across their tiny faces when the roles are reversed. If anything it’ll bring a smile to your face.
- Schlep around in your fuzzy slippers for three days in three-day-old pajamas and eat only from the candy cabinet. I don’t recommend this either. Perhaps speaking from experience, perhaps not. We’ll leave it a mystery.
- Or put on your big girl panties or über-manly boxers, suck it up, continue to query, and start working on something new. I highly recommend this. Your mind is perfectly demented right now. And let’s face it…you have the time!
Okay, now that you’ve potentially visited options #1 and/or #2 and gotten them out of your system. It’s time get to work and take a good look at option #3. The truth is, most debut writers can’t handle rejection, folding way too early. Don’t be one of them. Use the tidbits of information received in your rejections to your advantage. Rejection helps you become a better writer.
A better writer, you say?
Yes, rejection usually comes with “read between the lines” feedback. That said, you can stew and pout if you want, going nowhere, or pay attention to the agent and editor’s feedback. Learn about what you need to work on to become a better writer, and publish that sucker!
Of course, you’ll most likely sift through more rejections than any writer cares to admit (even the famous ones) for those tiny golden nuggets of info. Do remind yourself along the way that agents and editors aren’t rejecting you, some simply pass because it’s not right for their particular audience. Some are inundated with queries, and they can choose only a choice few that they feel have a slight upper hand. But that doesn’t mean they hate your work, or that it’s bad, but they’ve made the best decision they can at the time, kicking themselves later after seeing it on the shelves. Personally, my ideal outcome.
So the next time you open your email with a squinty-eyed puckered face, and that crooked pointer finger hovering over your mouse (Yep, go ahead and look, it’s crooked), remind yourself that you can use rejection to your advantage. After all, rejections are proof of your efforts and determination as a writer. If you persist and hear what rejection letters are saying, you will succeed.