Okay, seriously, the first thing you need to do is step away from that thought, slowly. Go ahead, step away. It’s going to be okay. – I mean it. Really. It’s going to be okay.
Rejection is not deadly. It just feels that way. You’re a writer and if you, well, write and send your work out, you’re going to be rejected at some point. It won’t kill you, I promise. It will hurt like hell, but it won’t kill you.
The mere thought of rejection has caused writers more nightmares than any other fear. Unfortunately, as a writer you’ll have to deal with rejection eventually. That’s okay. It’s happened to the best. It happened to Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, and even Dr. Seuss. (Yep, Dr. Seuss. See, it can’t be all that bad.)
I’m not going to tell you to simply get over it. Instead, I have a few tips for you on how to deal with it.
(For this post I reduced the number of tips to 5.)
5 Tips on Dealing With Rejection
1. Admit it, getting rejected sucks.
Go ahead, just tell yourself right now, “Getting rejected sucks and hurts like hell.” Because it does, on both counts.
The next step is to allow your emotions room to breathe. You need to give yourself permission to grieve intentionally. There’s nothing worse than needing to express your pain and holding it in. Go somewhere, perhaps in the middle of the woods, and just scream. It’s okay. You don’t want to bottle up your emotions inside because if you don’t let them out doubt will use them against you.
If screaming isn’t your thing and you feel like crying, then by all means get a pillow, some chocolate, or ice cream, and cry your writer’s heart out.
Writer’s Doubt loves rejection. It thrills in the chance to tell you “I told you so.” This is why letting your emotions out is imperative, and the sooner, the better. I don’t suggest forcing your emotions because they have their own timetable, but when you do feel them allow them to run their course. Now, here’s what to watch for: While your emotions are at their height, doubt will start whispering in your ear. Her voice may be soothing. She may tell you everything will be okay, that you knew it was going to happen anyway.
Doubt will continue her sweet whispers saying things like, “You don’t need to deal with this anymore,” “you should never try again because the pain just isn’t worth it,” “besides, no one cares enough to understand what you’re writing about,” “they don’t deserve your words.”
As (dis)comforting as all that may sound, doubt has only one goal, and that is to get you to give up, to quit trying to be published and to stop you from striving to improve as a writer.
4. Keep writing.
As you grieve, you’ll come to a point where it’s time to stop grieving. No matter what, keep writing, keep improving and continue to send your work out. If you were fortunate to get feedback with your rejection notice, read it closely and see if you can learn something valuable from it. If you sent your manuscript to only one agent or publisher, or even a few, it’s time to send it to a dozen more. Dr. Seuss’ first book was rejected well over twenty times!
5. Write for love.
You love writing. You do it first and foremost for you. Getting published was, is, and always will be, a byproduct of doing what you love. It’s great when it happens, but it’s not why you started writing.
You will get better and you will continue to send your work out, and if you always do it because you love to write, doubt won’t be able to talk you out of it.
Write for you. Write because you love to write. Love always trumps doubt.
How do you deal with rejection? Share in the comments.
*The “Write For You” image above I printed, framed and put it on my wall as a reminder. If you’d like to do the same, click on the image to get the larger version. You can also use it for a blog post, just link back here if you do. Enjoy!