In case you just landed here from some distant planet, let me let you in on a little secret...
If you're submitting your manuscript to any agents or publishers, you WILL get rejected. More than once. Maybe enough to lose track. The initial sting never changes. The hopeful surge of anticipation quickly followed by the sharp pang of disappointment. It comes with being a member of this wild and wonderful industry that is part subjective, part hard work, and part luck. But while you can't get around the 'no entry" message hidden within every politely worded rejection letter, there are ways to help get over the rejection blues.
HAVE A GOOD CRY...
Or a good scream off the top of some grassy knoll. Take a moment to acknowledge the pain and get it out of your system. Beat a pillow. Throw some darts. Stomp through the house saying it's unfair. You're human and of course it hurts. But remember...you are in this for the long haul and drowning in a pity pool will only keep you from your dream agent...or your dream publisher...or whatever lofty writing goal you have set for yourself. So have a good cry and then move on.
GO FOR A WALK...
Return to the gym. Or if you're like me, head to a martial arts training facility and kick something. Do something physical to take your mind off of those little gremlins running around in your head trying to tell you you're not good enough for this kind of life. Because you are. Know how I know? Because despite the fact you KNOW there will be rejections coming your way, you're still brave enough to send your story out into the world all alone while you wait at home hoping for good news. So go for a walk and reconnect to why you do this thing you love so much.
HANG OUT WITH BEN & JERRY...
Come on, you know sometimes the only thing that can take the edge off the rejection blues is a pint of Chocolate Peppermint Crunch. So go ahead and give yourself permission to grab some Ben & Jerry...just don't go diving into a gallon of the stuff...you'll wake up after crashing down off that sugary wave wondering just what the heck happened.
DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY...
I know it can be hard to do. Impossible sometimes if that rejection letter is particularly harsh. But most people "play nice" these days so the generic letdowns are usually easy enough to deal with. There are many reasons why our manuscripts get rejected...i.e.similar stories in the publishers existing lineup, not a good overall fit for the agency, not enough of a passionate connection for the agent or publisher to fight for it. That does NOT mean your story stinks, it just means it's not right for that particular person. Remember the whole subjective thing I mentioned earlier? Keep that in mind and try not to take those letters personally.
REMEMBER PRIOR SUCCESSES
Julie Hedlund, creator of 12 X 12 forum at http://www.juliehedlund.com/membership-forum/, is currently offering a free 12 day program to help writers get off to the right start in this new year. One of the ways is to make a conscious list of prior successes, no matter how small. Sometimes when there is a hurdle placed in front of us, it's easier to think NOTHING has gone right. But even something as small as adding another paragraph to an existing story validates your worth as a writer and serves as a reminder that you are still heading in the right direction.
SHARE WITH OTHERS
Writing is a lonely occupation to begin with so when we get a rejection letter, it can be easy to think we are the only ones going through this. This may be the time to reach out to others who have experienced the same disappointment. See how they have dealt with the blues and come away better able to deal with that part of the publishing path we are all on. One word of caution though. Drawing on the loving support of this wonderful writing community is one thing...putting down or talking negatively about the person generous enough to review your manuscript and give their subjective opinion as to whether it's right for them or not is unbecoming of a true writing professional and will always do more harm than good.
KEEP ON WRITING
Probably the most important thing to remember when you are feeling the rejection blues is to keep on writing. Every day. Your creativity and storytelling ability is a muscle which will atrophy if not used on a regular basis. It's also proven the more you write, the better the chance you will improve your overall writing skill. If the rejection letter offers specific reasons as to why your manuscript was turned down, take the time to seriously consider the merits of the reasons. But no matter what, just like Dory in Finding Nemo, when it comes to your writing...just keep swimming, just keep swimming...
I hope you learned something new today and be sure to check back tomorrow for the next post in my month long celebration!
You can preorder my book, THE STORY CATCHER, now through Amazon, www.amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble, www.barnesandnoble.com. It is available in both ebook and print copies. Here is the book blurb and book trailer.
Addie comes from a long line of readers, or "story catchers," as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.