You know what’s the least helpful advice about how to handle rejection? “Don’t take it personally.”
That’s a ridiculous statement. Let’s say a literary agent just passed on representing your manuscript. In other words, someone read something you worked on for months or years, something that represents the culmination of your abilities, ideas and knowledge, and, for whatever reason or combination of reasons, turned it down. Of course it’s personal.
Here’s what it’s not, though: Important.
As a professional writer, you’re going to get rejected. A lot. All the time. More often than your non-writer friends will believe. So many rejections! I once decoupaged a coffee table with the rejection letters I received from agents and publishers, and that was but a tiny fraction of what was to come; these days I could probably wallpaper my apartment with them. There will be successes, of course, but they’ll be grotesquely outnumbered by the rejections.
I repeat: It’s not important. The successes are important; the rejections are meaningless.
Well, not always meaningless. Accept criticism with an open mind: If multiple rejections from agents or publishers bring up the same problems—your story seems unrealistic, your characters lack motivation, your prose is tortured and incomprehensible—you’ll have to concede their point. For the most part, though, all you can do is accept that your writing is not going to be to everyone’s taste, then go in search of a more receptive audience.
Easier said than done. I do realize that. Here’s my three-part strategy for weathering out especially bad rejections:
1. Commiseration. Again, every writer has been through this. Find other writers and talk to them; they’ll understand. They’ll sympathize. They’ll share their own stories. You’ll laugh about it—you will, I promise—and it’ll take the sting away. If you don’t know any other writers, hit me up on Twitter; I can provide boundless sympathy for this kind of thing.
2. Perspective. A publisher turned down your manuscript? A reviewer said some cruel things about your novel? Your book got booted out of the early rounds of a competition? Here’s the fastest antidote for that awful, ashamed, vaguely persecuted feeling: Search on Amazon for your favorite book in the world, one you consider flawless, one with unassailable prose and characters you adore. Then read all the one-star reviews of that book.
See? You’re in good company—all authors get criticized, regardless of skill, experience or prestige. Every book is hated by someone. Rejection is the Great Equalizer.
3. Productivity. This is the most important step: Keep busy. Sink yourself into multiple projects; it’s a whole lot easier to shrug off a rejection of one book if you’ve got four or five others out there.
I have a friend with a famous husband. He directs, he writes, he acts, he hosts shows. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold. My friend filled me in on his secret to success: Apart from being talented and creative, he keepsridiculously busy. A significant percentage of his projects end in failure; when that happens, he shrugs it off and moves on to the next one without looking back.
Rejection is never going to be pleasant, and it’s always going to be personal. If you chose to be a writer, you will be powerless to avoid it. How much it affects you, however, is entirely in your hands.
When struggling actress Charlotte Dent is cast as a leggy killer robot in a big, brainless summer blockbuster, the subsequent hiccup of fame sends a shock wave through her life. The perks of entry-level celebrity are balanced by the drawbacks: destructive filmmakers, online ridicule, entitled costars, and an awkward, unsatisfying relationship with the film’s fragile leading man. Self-aware to a fault, Charlotte fights to carve out a unique identity in an industry determined to categorize her as just another starlet, disposable and replaceable. But unless she can find a way to turn her small burst of good fortune into a durable career, she’s destined to sink back into obscurity.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - General Fiction, Chick Lit
Rating - PG
More details about the author