Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rejection: Where do you go next?

Writers don't have a choke hold on rejection. That doesn't make it easier when we're rejected, unfortunately.

I'm watching an American Idol re-run of Hollywood (HELL) Week. In this episode the contestants are being pared down to the Top 24. They've made it really far. They know they're good because they've had a lot of successes and they've made it this far.

But they don't know if they're good enough to get through to the next round.

Those that get through to the Top 24 still face the possibility of more rejection. In fact, all but one will feel the sting.

Usually, there are more slots for writers. Most publishers publish four books a week which would be 208 annual slots. Multiply that by several publishers and there are a lot of possibilities for acceptance. Maybe that makes it worse.

With so much competition most writers will receive at least one rejection. Most will receive more than one.

So, how do you handle rejection? Where do you go from here?

Do you let one person's opinion, even one panel's decision, rule the rest of your life?

What if the Beatles had let Decca's rejection stop them? Not only would that have adversely affected their lives but all of ours. They weren't only rejected by Decca but by Columbia, Pye, Philips, and Oriole.

According to Wikipedia, Decca Records told the Beatles "guitar groups are on the way out" and "the Beatles have no future in show business".



According to Google Images, this is a picture of the Beatles right after the Decca rejection.


Aaron Kelly, a young man still in high school who is one of Season 9's contestants just said, (I'm paraphrasing) "You have to have everything they're looking for and hopefully I have that."

That sounds accurate. Our work can have many good aspects, indeed many wonderful things going for it, but it may not have every element and so we get rejected.

The good news is that people can learn, we can grow, we can practice and work hard to improve. We can also audition and submit to different people. So what if Decca rejects us? Or American Idol? Or Harlequin?

Each a big batch of chocolate, take a European vacation, go to the movies, take a bubble bath... Do whatever it takes to feel better then keep going. American Idol allows people to try year after year and some make it through the second or third time.

Don't give up on yourself.

Sure, I get depressed. Sometimes I wonder why I'm working so hard and not achieving my goals as quickly as some of my fellow writers who began their careers after me.

I have to wonder, are they more talented? Were they in the right place at the right time? Did they work harder than I have?

It could be one or all three. Perhaps I'll never know. But does it matter?

Not really.

What matters is where I go from here, how I handle my career. If I were to give up, I'd be a failure. If I keep working, keep trying, chances are I'll succeed BIG.

Maybe it was a good thing Decca and all those others rejected the Beatles. Maybe their career wouldn't have gone as well if they had found earlier acceptance.

The American Idol judges just explained to a very upset rejected contestant that one rejection isn't the end of the world nor even the end of her career. They told her to believe in herself, to keep going. Sounds like good advice to me.

I will not give up. I will keep trying. I will keep believing in myself.

What about you?

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10 comments:

Jen said...

I don't think a writer knows how to give up. That is what makes them a great writer. Not everyone will like your book, both readers and publishers (who are readers too!)

So I don't plan on giving up, even if that means I get 1,000 rejections before I get the call I'm desperate for!

Melissa said...

I give myself a day to mope, and then I move on. Like Jen said, "I don't think a writer knows how to give up." It's just not in us.

Nancy J. Parra said...

This is a great post. Rejection is hard. I feel sad for my characters because I beleive they are wonderful-lol-just like a mom.
The thing is you get rejections published or unpublished so you just keep going. Like the Beatles! cheers~

Ashley Ladd said...

Once or twice I was sick of the submitting/waiting game and thought about giving up. But I still wanted to write. As long as I still want to write, I might as well submit, right? I just have to learn to separate myself from my work and not to take myself too seriously.

Roxy Harte said...

I was just talking to a friend about this today...its all a process...writing, submitting, rejections, acceptances.

It doesn't make our words less valuable and it doesn't stop us from writing Chapter One all over again.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Every so often the thought of quitting jumps into my mind, but then I realize I wouldn't be able to stop writing, so there's no point in quitting.

Each rejection is just another stepping stone on the road to success. I eat chocolate, drink some wine, whine to friends--then I get my butt back in the chair and get back to work.

Regina Carlysle said...

Rejection used to be a killer, especially when I was trying so hard to become published. Now, I'm coming to believe that was all a learning experience about accepting rejection and plugging on and improving. Looking back, I realize there was a reason for those rejections. My work just wasn't THERE yet. Rejection comes in life no matter what the venue. I'll think about it for an hr or so, then focus on another task. This seems to help me shake it off because I'm doing something to move forward.

Ashley Ladd said...

Everybody is so wise. If all books were published, if indeed all my books had been published, the reading world wouldn't be as good as it is. There are gatekeepers and mentors for a reason. It's tough when we're the ones being rejected, but it's part of the process and hard as it can be, we learn from it.

Shelley Munro said...

I find it really helps to develop a plan A, B and C and sometimes a plan D. That way you know exactly what you're going to do next.

I also use the hope in the mail plan and try to have several subs or different writing-related things active at the same time. That way, if something is rejected, I still have something else out there and have "hope in the mail".

LM Preston said...

Rejection just makes us stronger and become more determined to reach my goals not based on what someone else deems acceptable - but what will make me happy as a writer.

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