No matter if its a personal rejection or a professional interaction, not being accepted can feel like a punch to the gut. It takes the wind out of my sails more than I’d prefer to admit, but a rejection (or a hundred rejections) doesn’t define a creative. What I do after the punch is what really matters.
Will I shut down the creative process I’ve built up? Should I listen to that nagging voice in my head that says I’m not going to make anything of myself? Does anyone out there really want to hear what I have to say anyway? Those questions have been with me since I started writing again in 2017, and I doubt they’ll disappear with or without more rejections.
The important answers aren’t in those questions or a dozen other negative thoughts that come to mind when I read another rejection email. The important response is to keep writing, to keep reading, to keep looking for inspiration, and to keep sending out stories with characters, themes, and settings that I am passionate about.
I didn’t get in to a writing program this summer.
That really bummed me out, harshed my Zen, and hurt my feelers. The one thing it didn’t do was make me want to quit. I hope that by sharing my response, it may help other creatives who face similar issues. There are only so many seats at the table, only so much room in a magazine issue, and only so many novels published by a given imprint in a publishing cycle. I keep at it till something sticks.
Here is another lesson rejection has taught me, I keep getting better. Nothing causes me to evaluate my work more than, “We regret to inform you…” Rejection forces me to seek out new ideas, to scour my work for flaws, or as my writer’s group likes to say, “Opportunities for improvement.” All of which helps me grow as a writer.
Maybe there will be a few more (or dozens more) rejections between me and my goals. Maybe I’ll be picked up for the next project I write. Either way, I’ll keep my butt in the chair and write. I hope you stick to whatever you’re creating, too.