Monday, February 6, 2012

Handling Rejection

Oh, rejection. My constant companion. You sort of feel like an old friend that I haven't heard from for a while. Sometimes you're so brutally honest that I want to tear my hair out or curl up in a ball and cry. But other times you give me compliments and I can't be mad or sad at you at all.

Everyone gets rejected. Everyone who's had a book published has been rejected at least once. Probably more. I don't think I know anyone that hasn't received a rejection on their work. It's hard to get used to getting rejected, but in this business you have to have some major thick skin. Rejection is NOT fun. It stings. It hurts. It punches you in the gut and takes your breath away. It makes you cry or scream in frustration. It makes you want to give up.

I think it all comes down to this.

Rejection sucks. But it's part of life. And a HUGE part of the writing world.

Not all rejections are bad though. Sometimes a rejection can help give you that little push to do a little better next time. If you get a rejection that has some feedback on your writing, take it for what it's worth. Sometimes an agent will love your voice, but not your idea. So, if a few agents say the same thing, write a new book that might work. Write a book that's even better than your first idea and make it shine.

Not every book will get a home. And that's okay. With every book you write, the better you get. And one day, those rejections will slow down. You'll get opportunities you've never had before. And all those past rejections will be worth it.

How do you handle rejection?

22 comments:

David P. King said...

First, I stare at the words. Then, I take a deep breath. After that, I make myself sound like Joe Pesci from Home Alone after stepping out of a trap (not really, but I might think it). Then I just look at what I sent them and see what I can do to make it better. Repeat as needed.

It's necessary indeed. You know you're jaded when you don't lose sleep over it. :)

Michelle Merrill said...

I read it and realize that my project wasn't right for the agent. That's understandable. Not everyone will love my book, but I want the agent that will :)

You're right. It is a part of life...good thing we can all relate and help each other feel good!

Miranda Hardy said...

I shrug and go on to the next. Life is too short to dwell on the negative. Keep thinking positive and good things will come.

Samantha said...

I haven't reached that stage, but I plan on taking each rejection and learning from them. It's really the only thing you can do. Giving up is not an option.

Kate said...

The only thing you can do is to Just. Keep. Writing. I think it always helps to have a new project to invest your time and attention in, because then you don't feel so wrapped up in the one you're getting feedback on.

J.L. Campbell said...

That's about the size of it.

I haven't done any submissions in a while, but I know that each one is always painful. Getting up and moving on is key though.

Meredith said...

Chocolate always helps with rejection. :) Thanks for the words of wisdom, Chantele. I needed that. Have a great week!

S.P. Bowers said...

I'll see what rejection from a publisher/agent is like before too long. Other writing rejections. I usually take a step back and think about it from all angles, then get to work. If there are tears involved I hide them well.

Jenny S. Morris said...

Ugh, rejection and I are only acquaintances at the moment. But very soon we will be good friends. I know myself and I know I will cry and scream and hyperventilate. Then I will pick myself up, realize what I need to change and move on to the next rejection. ;)

Jolene Perry said...

It depends entirely on the day, lol.

I know I'd rather get a rejection that says - we LOVE this, the writing is good, and we'd like to see more from you, but it isn't right for us, and then at the same time that's like the MOST frustrating kind because you're so close...

When I was querying, rejections on partials and fulls helped my writing more than I think anything else. So that was a good part of it.

It sucks and it's hard no matter what.

Jessie Humphries said...

You know what helps? Not putting your stuff out there! jk. I only say that because I know I am not ready yet to do so. But I know its coming round the bend.

Angela Brown said...

Oh rejection, subjective is thy name. I'm not happy to get them, but I take each one for it's own worth then move forward. At least that's what I did the last time I did a round of queries.

Patti said...

Chocolate and sleep.

I watched the voice last night and one of the singers got rejected, but he asked what he could work on and I think that's what we need to look at. What can we work on?

Although that's much easier said than done.

prerna pickett said...

it's a part of the biz, just gotta learn to grow thick skin.

Emily R. King said...

I'm not so sure I handle it as much as tolerate it. Rejection is HARD. It destroys self-esteem and creates doubt. For me, the only thing that heals rejection wounds is time... and writing. Get back up on that horse, right?

Maggie said...

Whenever they start coming in email they really hurt, but honestly I do get kind of numb to them after a round. I start to expect them more than a request sometimes.

Angela Cothran said...

My knee jerk reaction is chocolate :) Really. It's not a healthy way to cope. I usually mope for a few days, but I'm pretty good at finding the good in anything so I just need time to process.

JEFritz said...

I get upset about it, then I deal with it. Once the initial disappointment wears off, I can think of what to do so it won't get rejected next time.

Christine Rains said...

Great post. I handle rejections differently. I'm glad to take comments and work through things to make my story better. It's harder to handle the rejections when you make it to the finalists or the agent asks for the full manuscript then rejects it.

Katie Dodge said...

Oh, you know how I feel about it all. It sucks. But what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? Right?! ;)

Nicole said...

I get right back into my characters and stories, because those are WAAAAY more fun than staring at the lines of a rejection email trying to figure out what may or may not be implied!

'Course that's still sort of a 10-step process sometimes.:)

J. A. Bennett said...

I don't handle rejection very well, so I just read it. Put in the part of my brain labeled 'process later' let it stew for awhile to find what rings true then read it again with a thicker skin and learn from it. It's the only way I can cope :)