Rejection. That scary word that leaves a bitter taste in our mouths. Of course, it’s a common aspect of life, we face it all the time, work, family, friends, school and even in my case my own body rejects me quite often! But when you’re an aspiring author (for want of a better term), rejection is something you not only fear, but come to expect.
When I first decided that it was time to finally take the plunge and submit to an agency, I did it fully aware that I would get rejected. It’s an awful feeling knowing that in this industry you are far more likely to fail, inspiring right!? Amazingly, the first agent I contacted requested my full manuscript, something I did not expect. So my experience of rejection was a little delayed…but don’t worry it came, and came, and keeps on coming!
So here’s a few of the ways that I try to handle rejection…
- Breathe – Pretty straightforward first step, but until you receive that rejection you don’t realise how vital it is to remind yourself to breathe. Breathing is good.
- Tea – Yes, it’s very British of me, but little soothes the initial heartbreak like a cup of tea.
- Cry – This one usually comes a bit later for me. I’m a crier, I cry at books, I cry at music, I cry at adverts, so naturally, rejection makes me cry. No matter who you are, don’t underestimate a good cry! I would however advise you do this alone…I’m an ugly crier.
- Alcohol – At this point I’ve realised that tea just wasn’t enough, so I reach for a glass of wine (or anything alcoholic works!). Drink enough of it and you’ll forget all about that rejection…and that you even submitted anything…and sometimes your name.
- Don’t take it personally – Honestly, I’m still working on this step. I spend a lot of time trying to convince myself not to take it personally. But when I’ve poured myself into my work and it is rejected, it feels pretty damn personal!
- Keep trying – The best way to overcome rejection is to just keep trying. Whether it’s improving your work, or writing something new. Don’t let it stop you at least trying.
And if all else fails, you can always self publish. Of course even once you’re published the rejection doesn’t stop, if anything, I imagine, it would get worse. There will always, inevitably, be people who don’t like your writing. No matter how good it is (can you believe there are actually people out there that don’t like Harry Potter!?). Maybe one day I’ll be writing a post about how I handle rejection from critics…here’s hoping anyway!
Good luck to anyone else on this harrowing journey and feel free to share any coping techniques you have for handling rejection.