Don’t like rejection? Congratulations! You’re human. That more than I can say for some people around here.
Rejection hurts. I know; I just received one. Unfortunately, it’s a part of life. The pain of it tells us we’re alive, or some crap like that. Writers, performers, and other artists, I think, more conscious of the fact of rejection. After all, we’re the crazies who put ourselves in position to face rejection time and time again.
When you create something, you give it a piece of your soul (for some people, these pieces grow back infinitely; for others…let’s just say it explains some things) and it leaves you deeply vulnerable. The pain of rejection cuts so much deeper when it’s your creation — your living, breathing child (or Pinocchio: he’s a real boy!) or your painting, a role you act or a score you play, or a story you write.
Unless you keep your baby in a dark, locked room and never allow it out in the world — I’m told Child Services looks poorly on that sort of thing — rejection is inevitable.
But much as it hurts, rejection is also a rite of passage. Whoever told you being a creator is easy should be flayed, flogged, and defenestrated. That person lied.
The very first story I submitted for professional publication met complete, underwhelming silence. So the day I received my first-ever rejection letter, I did a little happy dance because I finally felt like a REAL writer.
That was last year. This rejection — and it was really an incredibly nice rejection — makes two. Count them: T.W.O.
I’ve been writing with intent to publish for almost 19 years. That sounds a lot more depressing before you know I was eight years old when I figured out that’s what I want to do with my life. Still, my track record of taking that necessary step to realize my published-author dream is abysmal, and if you ask me why, I will have no real answer.
With my first rejection letter, I was just so happy to have something I could point to, to say I’m actually doing this thing I always said I would. This time is harder. I wonder if I’m really as good as I think I am. I wonder if those people who seem to love my stories will tell me where to find whatever they must be high on.
But the only way to find the validation I crave is to send my stories out — submit them again and again — until they start coming back with a YES.
This has been a PSA Pep Talk, brought to you by Arglefrargledargleblastit.