Friday, October 16, 2009

Tough Love and Rejection

One of the most common subjects amongst writers and agents is dealing with rejection. Everyone hates rejection, even the person doing the rejecting, I'm sure.

Princess Rhiannon is dealing with a lot of rejection at school. Several girls apparently think she is 'weird' because she doesn't like to do her hair fancy, she wears jeans and tee shirts (she plays hard on the playground!), and apparently, she isn't grown up enough for these little snotty brats. Oh-I mean, little girls. *ahem* We had a conversation about this and I was so proud of her when she told me, "It doesn't matter. I hang out with the guys, they don't care how I look, they care who I am." WOW-great observation for a nine year old. I would have been a blubbering mess to my mother at that age.

She reminded me that we have been learning how to handle rejection since an early age. Most of us did not have parents that allowed us every thing our heart desired-especially since desires change from hour to hour with kids. :)

Then I got to wondering...have writers forgotten that we have experienced rejection all our lives? Does the writing community need a good wake up call? I think it's time for writers to quit moaning online about how this awful agent sent him/her a **GASP** form rejection. Before anyone screams at me, "How callous! How DARE you?! I knew it, Kristi has no heart!" let me clarify. Everyone gets disappointed about rejections-form or otherwise. It's no problem to let others know that you are feeling a little disappointed. I think it's okay to frown and hang our heads for a little while, too. I agree we should reach out to our friends at this time to help us with the disappointment. The problem I see is too many writers scream that this rejection shattered their dreams and they give up. OR the writers that fall to the floor and cry, while insinuating that the publishing industry is clueless and their manuscript is the best thing to hit the market. *YAWN*

If anyone has ever seen even one episode of So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol, Project Runway or any other competition-based reality show, you've seen some people get ripped apart. And let me tell you-the judges are not nice enough to hand them a form rejection!! I've heard things like, "Do you really think that was good?" "My dog sounds better when he howls than when you sing." "That dress is upscale witchy halloween costume." "Totally unwearable." And really-even worse that I just can't dredge from my memory because every time I see one of those singers/dancers/fashion designers/etc.. get in front of a panel of angry faces (faces they usually idolize) and have their dream shot down to the dust on national television-I feel for those people. Those people are getting REJECTED.

Most of these people nod quietly and take their walk of shame off the stage. Some cry. Some roll their eyes. Everyone deals with rejection differently, but it's how we deal with it that makes a difference. While one competitor says, "It makes me hungry to do better next time." Another lays on the stage, literally bawling. Even the judge had to tell this contestant, "You aren't helping yourself at all, handling yourself like this right now." Do you think that one will come back next year? Or the one that took it as a challenge to get better? I know who my vote goes to.

Could you imagine getting rejection letters that sound like Simon Cowell just judged your writing? Be thankful for that form letter! Remember there are more than one reason to get rejected in the publishing industry. Maybe your writing is brilliant, but it's just not the right time. Maybe you only have a few things to tweak and the next query lands a deal. Perhaps you queried the wrong person at the wrong time or the right person at the wrong time. We don't know for sure and yes, that makes it more difficult at times to accept the rejection.

So, when the next rejection letter comes.....get hungry! Hungry to do it better next time. Hungry to send out more, write more, learn more. Your dream isn't strong enough if you let rejections shatter it to pieces without ever putting them back together. Cry yourself a couple of tears-it hurts, and I acknowledge that. But don't give up-GROW from it.


  1. This is great. I agree. Take one day to pout, then get going again.

  2. Rejections stink, but I've learned so much from them. I cherish them now.

  3. Great attitude Susan...I was a little afraid people were going to think I was being crass..but I know it hurts-we just have to move on, or we won't ever grow.

  4. I hate 'em! But I wouldn't be getting them if I wasn't writing. Something I MUST do! :)

    Unplug week starts Monday. I'll see you the 26th. :)

  5. I haven't submitted anything, yet, but I think your advice is great. I will remember to use them as a learning tool and not let them get under my skin. It's all part of being a writer.

  6. What a great post, Kristi! Oh, so true. Rejections are not the end of the world (though occasionally it might feel that way, ha ha). I can't even imagine how horrible it would be if every form reject was a Simon Cowell letter. Now that would be a nightmare. You are so right, those people have been REJECTED. We just get little notes of "not right now."


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