How Writers Can Deal With and Overcome Rejection
Sometimes I sit here staring at the blank screen unable to create. It begs for a word or two, any words will do.
The loss of words, of a will to write, can be so unbearable.
Have you ever experienced the hurt that comes with rejection, feeling that what you are creating doesn’t matter, that it’s pointless and no one cares?
A few days ago I wrote about creating an eBook that will go viral and I shared with you that my first eBook was downloaded over 100,000 times, but there’s more.
I would be remiss if I did not share with you more of the story, the latest part that could perhaps make any of us, at least for a moment, consider giving up.
I talked with my agent the other day and she let me know that so far there were no takers (traditional publishers) and one clear rejection for the extended edition of my popular free eBook.
At first I wasn’t too worried about it, but after contemplating a bit too much I got carried away in my own head wondering why.
I enjoy self-publishing and I’ve experienced success doing it and that was my first inclination, but I thought for sure with so much interest in the eBook that it would be a snap to traditionally publish an extended edition.
Perhaps I thought wrong?
This led me to a deep moment of doubt and to believe that I just don’t “get it”.
What’s the point?
But that’s not the worst of it; the worst is that I got a deep, dispassionate feeling inside that made me ask the most dangerous question of all:
“What’s the point?”
That’s a dangerous question and can lead to losing one’s enthusiasm, the desire to write at all and stopping.
I think it is interesting that I wrote in the previous post that if no one else cared, at least I do. And that’s true, but let me be open and honest, I am not immune to the discouraging feelings that rejection brings. Is anyone?
So I sat there at my desk, staring at the monitor and the blank page, wondering what it is all about, asking myself that dreadful question, trying to figure it out.
“What’s the point?” The question echoed in my head.
I finally had enough and I got up and said to myself that I am not going to continue sitting here feeling sorry for myself.
I knew I wasn’t going to write anything anyway so I needed to get out and do something different.
But what? What does a creative person do when he can’t create? When he’s lost that feeling that he’s doing something worthwhile and special?
This creative person took his wife on a trip.
And not just anywhere, I took her to the oldest city in Germany, Trier and it is there where I rediscovered my passion, why I write and I hope I don’t forget it anytime soon.
Sometimes what’s needed is a change of scenery to gain a new perspective and to reconnect with one’s faith.
This time of year there is a Christmas Market in downtown Trier and it is setup in front of the city’s Cathedral.
I thought the Christmas Market would be a wonderful getaway, but I didn’t realize we would happen upon such an amazing landmark of faith, built by Constantine, construction began in 326 AD.
From the outside it was truly breathtaking and awe-inspiring, an amazing work of architectural art and design and fortunately for us, we could go inside.
Once we were inside there came upon me the necessity to say a silent prayer and it was at the moment when I said “Amen”, when clarity finally came to me.
I became aware of two clear thoughts:
All things in life happen at the moment they need to, not a moment too soon and not a moment too late.
Do what you do and love what you do.
Those were the messages I needed to hear and helped me remember that going viral or being accepted isn’t why I do what I do.
Ways to deal with and overcome rejection:
1) Stay strong, the Cathedral of Trier wasn’t built in a day.
2) Realize that rejection, like it or not, is part of the process and sometimes your work isn’t a fit with just any publisher.
3) Take a deep breath, have faith and step away from writing and go visit somewhere remarkable.
4) Connect with other creative people. Perhaps the best thing I did this last year was join an online class: TRIBE WRITERS. After all, thanks to Tribe Writers I decided to create this new blog and step outside the only niche I’ve written for in the last half decade.
Tribe Writers is an online course about writing, blogging, networking and building a tribe. It’s the best and I can’t recommend it enough. Beyond the lessons, this community of writers is one of the most supportive, encouraging and kind you will ever find.
*I mentioned in a previous post that I would let you know when Jeff Goins would reopen for a new class, he’s done that and you can now join Tribe Writers, but if you’re interested don’t wait because he’s only accepting new students for a limited time.
5) Remember why you do what you do, it’s not about acceptance, fame, going viral and not about perfection. You know what it is really about for you.
And here I am writing, rejuvenated and excited to be creating again.
If you ever get that heartbreaking feeling of hurt that what you are doing isn’t good enough or worthwhile anymore, remember to have faith, connect with fellow writers and if you have the urge to get up and go visit somewhere, it’s probably a good idea.
I am certain that when you think about it, you know other ways how writers (and all types of creative people for that matter) can deal with and overcome rejection. I hope you have a moment to share those with us in the comments below.
With that I leave you with a couple more pictures of our trip to Trier.
And as if I need any more encouragement, as we drove out of Trier we viewed another fantastical site, St. Mary’s Column which oversees the city at 130ft high.
Have you experienced rejection? If so, what helped you?
Share in the comments.
– Btw: Joan and I snapped all of the photos (we are total amateurs, but we love taking photos) and the Tribe Writers link is an affiliate link.