Writers are no stranger to rejection. It’s par for the course and something that is to be expected. Even though you know in the back of your mind that rejection is bound to happen, you still have grandiose dreams of being the sole exception. That vision that as soon as you send out your precious work all of the agents and publishing companies will be in awe and so excited that they will knock on your door offering you a three-book deal and movie rights. And if that doesn’t work out, as a back up plan, you can just self-publish and become Fifty Shades of Grey famous. What could go wrong?
Well, I’m here to tell you the road to publishing rarely ever goes that way. I’ve been feeling the sting of rejection lately and it’s been tough. I’m not going to sugarcoat how it feels; having something that you poured your heart and soul into declined with very few or no reason at all is difficult. You would think I’d be used to it by now, but every time I receive a rejection email, it is still a trying experience. I not only have to deal with this when receiving rejections for the novel I’m trying to have published, but also at work when a submitted grant I wrote is declined. Imagine my dismay having a grant declined, and my book rejected, all in the same day.
Having your book constantly rejected starts to weigh on your soul, and you begin to question your whole existence and self-worth. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but maybe I was wrong? Maybe what I’m writing is a story not worth being told? Perhaps there are better things out there I should be spending my time on?
But before I start to go deeper into this downward spiral, I find it imperative to reach out to my ever faithful support network to help me through tough news, especially my amazing husband. They, most of whom have read my work, offer positive thoughts and even just a shoulder to cry on. I also love my Twitter writing group because all of them also have received rejections for their writing, so they know exactly how it feels getting the canned email of “Thank you very much for your query but unfortunately I don’t feel that I’m the right fit for this project. I wish you the best of luck moving forward.”
I’ve found that each time I need to first allow myself to face what makes me upset about each rejection and mourn the loss. Otherwise, if I bottle up each one, I will eventually explode when it becomes too much, and then it takes even longer for me to overcome. Instead, sitting with my feelings and working through them as they appear is what I have found works best for me. It allows me to move past the grief and progress towards the next stage that I find particularly enjoyable, motivation. After a small period of dejection, I usually wake up once more with a jolt of energy pushing me to show every person that has ever doubted me that I can do more than they ever imagined; I start to write and write and write, sometimes almost missing my train stop!
I still have those grand dreams of someday becoming a published author and that my book will be a New York Times bestseller, but I have now learned that I also need to have smaller goals that are attainable along the way; goals that help me have positive affirmation that my writing is not for naught. Even something like this blog has been helpful this year for me to share my writing to the world. It’s allowed me to reach new audiences, but also connect with some friends and family members that have reached out and told me to keep trucking along. Thank you to everyone that has ever believed in me and is accompanying me on my journey to become a published author. I know it’s a long and bumpy ride, but I’m looking forward to seeing where the road might lead me; I’ll just deal with each rejection one at a time with hopefulness that some day I’ll open up my email with a sentence that starts like, “I am pleased to offer you…”