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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On being a reject

Rejection sucks. Not a particularly new or profound thought, I know, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately. The query process is filled with exceptional highs and lows. From what I’ve read, I’m pretty sure it only gets worse from here.  Some weeks are great—requests for manuscripts and positive feedback give me hope that it’s possible to achieve my goals.  Unfortunately, for every good week, a bad one follows when I am certain I’m wasting my time on writing altogether. I had a particularly disappointing week rejection recently, and I'm still rebuilding confidence.
Rejection and I are old friends.  A person would have to be in cave far away from civilization to get to be my age without facing esteem-crushing blows from multiple fronts.  I’ll probably never get over not being selected as an R.A. in college. Unfortunately, practice doesn’t always make perfect.  Then again, maybe it is possible to become an expert at rejection.
One of my summer session public speaking students reminded me that there are plenty of examples of highly successful people who have faced rejection.  In her speech, she cited the famous case of the Beatles’ Decca audition, which they were ultimately refused because guitar bands were losing steam. Here's one of the songs they played during that audition.

I also follow the blog, “One Hundred Rejections” which provides stories of famous authors who’ve been rejected and quotes advice from many of them.
I try to draw inspiration from these stories—not that I’m reveling in the failure of others, but is a reminder about the power of perseverance. Perhaps, more importantly, I remind myself that I may never be like Stephen King or Kathryn Stockett (The Help).  My rejections may not lead to success, and while that’s not a pleasant thought, all the clich├ęs are definitely true. Any hope of success begins with putting yourself out there.
So, no, this week’s post is not a new message, but sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly beat up by the process or by life in general, it’s a reminder I need.  At least I’m still here risking, learning, changing.
Inspire me.  Name a time you were rejected and it stuck with you.  How long did it take you to "get over it?"

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