I am writing this for anyone who considers themselves an artist and has the glamourous job of creating something, submitting it and waiting for the inevitable words:
Sorry not for us
___ (*NOT YOU*) won the You are a Writing God Fellowship.
….not quite right for our
No matter what it says, you hear the same thing. “You: no good. Stop now.”
Reflections of/the way rejection used to be
The first rejection slip I ever received came before I ever submitted anything, in the form of cruel words from others. Girls iced me out of the cool cliques. Boys I liked who didn’t like me and made it a point to announce it. Teachers who ignored me. Thankfully, my childhood happened well before the internet because I am quite if cyber bullying existed, it would have pushed me into crazy territory.
Getting bullied isn’t a rite of passage. It’s crowdsourced abuse.
For a long time, I feared rejection so much, all of my writing resided in my notebook or my mind. I lived inside my own head, scared to make a squeak. No standing and delivering for me; I curled up and withdrew.
Use Your Voice
When I started my life as a paid writer, I put too much pressure on myself to come up with something completely original, something noteworthy that I wrote in a fake voice. Imagine Tom Waits trying to sing like Mariah Carey. That was me. The writing fell flat and I felt like a fraud.
And then I read an excerpt from Virgina Woolf’s handwritten journal in London. She had come to the point of validating herself and her own art instead of seeking validation from outside sources.
She’s Virginia Woolf. Whose validation could she have possibly sought?
I may not be funny enough for McSweeney’s. I don’t have the vocabulary for the New Yorker. Publications and teachers have rejected my stories and even simple sentences I wrote for work have been sent back to the drawing board.
I now look at these rejection
letters emails as proof that I am writing. That I haven’t stopped and will never stop. I hope if you’re a writer, you get to that point too.
To handle rejection, look at writing differently:
Let it Go
- Don’t make it about being published. It’s not. Publishing is just a bonus. This way, when the rejection letter comes, you’ll more easily set it aside.
- Think about what you could have done differently. Take a look at what you write, how you write. Maybe you submitted in the wrong format. Maybe your grammar isn’t up to snuff.
- Consider every rejection a small success. You’ve gotten over the fear of sending it in. You’re writing enough to submit it to publications. Rejection won’t happen unless you try. You’re trying.
- WRITE. Ok, so that story didn’t work. Table it for awhile and write another one. Write everyday.
- Realize that there’s room at the table for other writers. You’re NOT the only one. And you can learn from others. If someone’s more successful than you, figure out what he or she is doing right.