March 14, 2006 | It's All About Writing
You’ve been hounding your postal carrier for weeks, begging for The Letter, the one that’s going to put you on the road to success. Nothing. Again. Today. But wait! What’s that stuck inside the newspaper advertisement you usually toss in the recycle bin without reading? Holy Royalties, Batman! It’s from the publisher. Correction. It’s from your publisher.
With shaking hands you tear open the envelope and draw out the letter. Hey wait! Where’s the contract? You spread the envelope apart, praying it’s stuck inside. Nada. Okay, okay, they’re probably going to send it after you accept their offer.
Grinning ear-to-ear you flip the letter over and read,
We are sorry to inform you…”
Yep, that’s pretty much how a rejection letter starts off. So what are you going to do about it? Sit there and cry? Gorge yourself on junk food until you’re ready to puke? Those reactions are typical. Very few writers entertain thoughts of suicide. And if you do, baby, you need some serious help.
This is the best advice I can give you on rejection; Get Over It. No one likes a whiner.
Sure no one likes to be rejected, be it from a lover, friend, or an editor. But there’s ways to retain your rationale without going over the edge.
Read your rejection again, after you come back surface from your blue period. If it’s a form rejection, without a real clue as to why your book was deep-sixed, then you’ll need to talk with someone in your writer’s or critique group for insight.
If you are fortunate enough to have an explanation of the rejection, study it. Learn from it. Editors are not evil. They don’t wake up every morning and plan which writers to destroy as they prepare for work. Editors want talented writers with a fresh voice. They are all looking for that one author who can help make the editor’s career. They want you to be the one.
Treat your rejection as a challenge. Frame it and hang it right over your desk. Look at it everyday and promise yourself you will do better. Then make it happen. Read your story again, edit it again, fix the problem areas and make it shine. When you are positive it’s the best you ever wrote, ship that baby right back out the front door. It’s just like falling off a bike; you have to get back on to overcome the fear.