It occurs to me, following the success of my ‘Top Tips for Blogging’ post a while back:
that I should do a ‘top tips on surviving rejections’ post. After all, I’ve had my fair share of them and although unlike writers in the past I can’t paper my room with rejection slips because they come by email, I can as it were paper this blog with advice about how to deal with them.
So here are my top tips on surviving rejection.
- It happens to everyone. If you’re feeling down, look at this sample of rejections received by successful and established writers and remember that rejection is not necessarily a judgement on your writing, merely on its suitability for the outlet to which you submitted it – or, if you want to be pedantic, on that person’s opinion of its suitability (look at this link to 17 famous authors and their rejections: http://mentalfloss.com/article/91169/16-famous-authors-and-their-rejections)
- It hurts. There’s no way round this that I know of: you’re going to feel bad for a day or two, maybe longer; so use your support networks. Tell family and friends, share with online writing groups. If you haven’t joined any there are loads out there and my favourite is the Insecure Writers’ Support Group (ISWG) on Facebook, who are very supportive and encouraging.
- Do something to make yourself feel better. Write (but don’t send!) an angry or humorous email to the editor who rejected you, as I did in yesterday’s post. If you really want to, send the rejected item somewhere else – but I recommend letting it lie for a while and in the meantime doing something restful and enjoyable. Go for a walk, watch a film, read something amusing or absorbing that is quite different from your own work (so you don’t compare) and realise that you will feel shitty for a while.
- Don’t allow the negative thoughts and/or feedback to define you. I had a comment a while back on my poetry which really rocked me on my heels. I thought about it for a while – then I decided that they were wrong. But even if they were right it doesn’t mean that I have no talent or that I should give up. After all a rejection is just one person’s opinion.
- When you’re feeling better, pick up your pen/tablet/laptop again and keep going. There’s only one sure way to fail and that is to give up. So don’t give up!
I’d like to hear your top tips too – please add them in the comments
2 thoughts on “How to Deal With Rejections”
re number 4: I experienced frequent rejections when I used to submit articles to academic journals, but with those you usually get detailed feedback. I realised then that so-called expert referees often haven’t a clue what they’re talking about. Just revise it and resubmit or send it somewhere else. It’s not personal.
It’s difficult not to take rejections personally, especially when you put a lot of time/effort/work/pride into something. I have a fair few rejections with work from time-to-time, generally along the lines of people asking me how much I charge and them replying with “it’s too much”, or saying they’ll get back to me and never do. Over time I’ve gained confidence from, and try to reflect on, the work I have done for people, especially the ones that have really appreciated my work or thought I was charging too little! It can really put things into perspective. Obviously if someone is new to something and haven’t yet built up that positive feedback it can be tough, here you have to find that positive something from within.