I'm starting to learn that for writer's, rejection and writer's block are two topics that can never get enough attention. Since I've yet to experience major issues with writer's block (lucky me, but I've probably just jinxed myself), I'm going to talk about rejection some more.
A quick recap: I'm in the process of trying to get my first novel, New Year's Revolution, published. I've been sending out queries for a little over a year, with a break for more edits at the end of 2014. I've since gotten twenty-seven rejections, and one acceptance that wound up not being a good fit for me or my story (but yay for an acceptance!)
I've recently discovered the joys of the Twitter writing community (I never thought I would call anything related to Twitter a joy) and all of the wonderful writing contests that take place. I've learned many wonderful tips from agents, editors, and other writers and I've just had fun talking and joking around with people. I'm currently waiting on the results of Pitch Wars, which will be revealed in less than twenty-four hours. I don't know if I'll be chosen or not, but I wanted to write this post regardless.
I've been reading a number of Tweets and blog posts about rejection, ways to handle it, what it does and doesn't mean, and so on and so forth. The majority of the things I've seen and read have been very encouraging, but that doesn't change the fact that rejection is hard. It's going to hurt, no matter what.
I understand that being rejected by an agent or a publisher or not being chosen for a contest most likely does not mean my writing is bad. But that's a rational thought, and emotions are completely irrational. Feelings refuse to listen to reason. They're very annoying that way.
The other day I had an epiphany. I have such a hard time with rejection because every time I receive a "thank you, but I must pass" letter from an agent, I'm not thinking just about that one rejection. I'm suddenly remembering all twenty-seven "Thank you, but no" letters I've received. Each time I get a rejection letter, I think of all the rejection letters that came before it. So my twenty-seventh rejection is no longer the twenty-seventh rejection. My mind has turned it into the four-thousandth rejection.
You think that's bad? I'm not done yet.
Upon receiving rejection letters I cry and mutter things like, "nothing ever works out for me" and "I'm never good enough" and "nobody ever chooses me." In my irrational state of sadness, I'm no longer thinking about just my novel. I'm thinking about that three month period in 2000 when I went on about twenty job interviews before finding a job. I'm thinking about the times I didn't get accepted into grad school. I'm thinking about promotions I didn't get, guys who broke up with me, friends who didn't want to hang out with me in middle school. The list goes on.
This is the mega-rejection.
It is madness.
And not the fun, dancing in the booth at the coffee shop to music only I can hear kind of madness, but the no-fun, depressing kind of madness.
Nobody likes that kind of madness.
I feel it necessary to clarify that I'm not a negative person. To those who don't know me it might sound like I am, but I'm not. I try to find a nice balance between optimism and realism. Plus, I recently heard a rumor that the glass can be refilled, so I find that pretty encouraging. Regardless of one's optimism, rejection is hard. If anyone tells you it isn't, they're lying.
Despite the pain of rejection, it's time to stop the madness of the mega-rejection. I doubt I'm the only one who falls into this trap. So let's stop together. The first step is to recognize the sheer irrationality of it. I need to stop re-hashing all my past rejections and "failures" every time something doesn't work out. It's not doing me any good.
It's normal to be sad when something doesn't work out, but why make something worse by dragging up all the other times something hasn't worked out? Like I said, it's madness. Let's stop the bad madness, and get back to the fun madness.
Ooh, a good song just came on. If you need me, I'll be dancing.
As always, thanks for reading!