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What Doesn’t Kill, You Makes You Stronger

April 26, 2010

This week the Wicked team will be discussing rejection and how we deal with it.  This one is kind of funny to me. Funny in a good way.  I’ve dealt with rejection for most of my life, and I’m sure if you all look deep inside, you’ll see that you have, too.

Rejection is a huge part of life.  How we deal with it, and our actions that follow, dictate whether we will ultimately succeed in life or fail miserably. I’ve been picked on, bullied, beat-up, teased, labeled a lesbian in eighth grade (which seriously put a crimp on anyone from my own school asking me out on a date for five years), fired from my first job at age 15 and… well, the list could go on and on, unfortunately.

You do what you must to feel better, and move on.  Such is life. But these instances shape you and help to create the person you will become.  I can’t imagine what a weakling I would be if my elementary and teenage years hadn’t sucked so bad. Dealing with bullies and standing up for myself left me with the courage as a young military wife to leave an abusive spouse and get out of a mistake of a marriage at the age of 21.

Life is not fair – it is what it is.

This is the attitude you must have when you submit your work to agents and publishers. You will have some that like it, but can’t sell it (a very important distinction to understand).  Some who don’t care for your voice, your main character, or your story.  You will have some that don’t even tell you why they don’t like it, and simply reject it. C’est la vie.

If you took the time to write it—and re-write it, polish it, and edit it to the 9th degree—then I can guarantee it will appeal to someone.  You just have to find that someone. And it may take a long time.

I took the path less followed in my writing career. I went to readers and not fellow writers to tell me yay or nay on my work. Of course, I asked writers to help me improve the piece before readers saw it, but the insights they offered to me were just as valuable as the ones provided by the readers. Oh, and lots of them didn’t like it, be sure about that.

The important thing is this: lots more did.

So how do I deal with rejection?  I ignore it for the most part. Unless of course, it’s from a fellow contestant’s co-blogger while I’m competing in a huge national writing contest. But hey—we all learn as we go, and I certainly learned it would have been wise to keep my mouth shut on that one, no matter how coincidental the timing was.

Don’t count your rejections in life; it’s a waste of time.  If someone gives you some valuable advice hidden in the venom, wait a bit and see what you can do to utilize it to improve your work.  But overall, ignore the rejections. I’ve received so many in my life it would take too long to list them all – and what would be the point?

I’ve succeeded in business and in my personal life to spite all of them, or perhaps, because of them. Shake it off and go on.

You can do it because what you write is worthy. You just have to believe.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2010 10:33 am

    After a discussion I had with my critique group last week, ignoring rejection can sure save you time sometimes. One of the guys said he received a rejection letter from an agent and took it to heart and changed his novel per the advice. After resubmitting it to the same agent, he got back the same exact rejection letter.

  2. April 26, 2010 3:54 pm

    What more is there to say about rejection? You’ve covered it all! 🙂 Nice one.

  3. Michelle permalink
    April 26, 2010 6:22 pm

    Another well written blog… Great advice too! If you take all rejection seriously, I’m sure you’ll develop a complex, or it will lower your self-esteem, and you’ll end up feeling like dirt. There will always be rejection in life – someone’s schedule won’t allow them to meet up with you for lunch, or they had made other plans, or someone you really like isn’t that crazy about you. Like you said, you need to learn what you can from it IF there’s anything constructive in the rejection, otherwise, move on.

    • April 27, 2010 7:27 am

      Thanks, Michelle. You’re right rejection comes in all forms every damn day. We just have to deal, eh?

  4. April 26, 2010 9:55 pm

    Yet another great blog, CJ. I’ll try to take your advice (you’ll understand after you read my blog).

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