I printed out the first rejection email I ever received for a manuscript.
I read it 2,938,479 times (not really) before I stowed it away in an overhead bin like I’m on a plane and need to rid myself of carry-on items for the remainder of the flight.
But unlike a flight, I didn’t take the rejection with me like I would my bags upon landing.
I haven’t once taken the printed email out of my drawer since putting it there, nor have I really thought about it. That is, until we moved, and I cleared out everything.
That’s when I saw it. And the seven others I’d also printed.
There they were, and although my heart sank at the sight of them, I carried on like I did before, not letting them bother me.
A couple months before moving, I received another rejection for a flash non-fiction essay I submitted. I’ve gotten so good at not letting rejection bother me that I actually forgot about this one. I read through the email like I read my bank statement – I get the important information, then move on.
I have countless other emails with rejections on various short stories and essays.
I’m a writer, which means I get rejected. Frequently.
From magazines, publishers, readers, and so many others.
Rejection in writing is no different than anything else. No different than a college rejection or from a job. No different than rejection from a group of people.
To me, rejection is just a typical Tuesday.
It’s part of the writing gig, part of everyday life, just like a Tuesday is part of every week.
Now you might be thinking, but Georgia, obviously the rejections bother you a little bit, because why else would you print them out and save them?
The answer isn’t because they do secretly bother me and eat away at me until I can’t function. Not at all. Quite the opposite actually – they fuel me to keep going, to keep trying, to keep holding out hope that one day I’ll get a acceptance letter.
Many great writers were rejected several times when first starting out. They get rejected even way into their careers. But they don’t stop. They continue having faith in themselves and their work, and it all pays off in the end when they hit the bestseller lists. They just needed that one person to take a chance on them.
That’s the thing with writing – it’s so subjective. Just because one agent or publisher doesn’t accept your work, it doesn’t mean that the rest won’t, either. We just need that one yes. That one to say, you know, you’re really funny/insightful/unique, and I’m going to publish your work for the rest of the world to be enlightened by it.
And I firmly believe that one day, I will get the acceptance letter. I’ll get a yes for my manuscript, and when that day come, I’ll take out my first rejection letter as a reminder of my unyielding faith and determination. I’ll look at it and remind myself how far I will have come.
Even so, there will still be rejections. There will still be readers who won’t like my work, but I have chosen to treat it the same as I do with magazines and publishers. I’ll treat those rejections like a typical day of the week – I’ll carry on.
Again, you’re probably thinking, but Georgia, you care about what other people think, do you really brush off rejection that easily?
That answer is a little more complicated, because yes, I want to be accepted by every reader out there. As I’ve said before, I want everyone to think I’m a magnificent reader with profound thoughts and evocative writing.
But that’s not reality, and in the last few months, since starting this blog, I’ve gotten so much stronger in my ability to really carry on without dwelling on the people who don’t like what I’m writing or don’t agree with what I’m saying.
Because the ones who do like it are out there (*waves to my husband and mom*).
But really, just like it takes one publisher to take a chance on you, it takes one reader to do the same, and the rest will come. The rest will fall into place.
So don’t dwell on the rejections, on the naysayers, the haters. They’ll always be there. Take their opposition in strides. Sure, it sucks to be rejected – it doesn’t make you weak or inferior to acknowledge it.
But don’t let it keep you down.
Don’t let it keep you from writing, creating, and excelling. Don’t let it keep you from being yourself.
Rejection’s a typical Tuesday. Although Tuesdays have their perks (tacos, anyone?), they’re nothing worth getting worked up over. So why should we get worked up over a pesky rejection?
Happy Monday, folks – don’t let today or tomorrow get you down 🙂