You’ve heard the quotes about how many times Babe Ruth struck out during his career. You’ve been reminded about the number of rejections J.K. Rowling received before she hit it big. Do these reminders help when another rejection comes in?
What goes around does not necessarily come back around. Your dreams can die in the water if you get discouraged. Please don’t give up.
Time to toughen up, yo.
But what to do in the meantime?
Every writer knows how easy it is to get sick of your manuscript. The thrill of what you thought was so profound is being rejected by better writers, or by sex, scandal, and romance. Again.
Or, you just plain got rejected.
You have several options when rejections fill your inbox:
- Break dishes
- Learn how to play golf
- Put on your old Allman Brothers or Buddy Guy tunes and crank it up full blast
- Run away & put a week at a luxury hotel on your credit card-suffer later
- Do yoga for pissed off people
- Yell at the dog
- Knit, break the knitting needles and ball up the yarn, donate said yarn to the Goodwill
I favor breaking dishes, running away, and doodling. Doodling usually wins. You can find budget hotels to replace the overly expensive bed and breakfast inns, but the cold hard truth is no matter what your coping mechanisms are, you have to do the rewrites. When you sink your head into the pillow, be it luxury lavender or at home on budget, the naked truth is staring at you from the ceiling.
You have to revise. And unless you have a contract, nobody cares. You still have to do it.
Do the rewrite.
Again. Hog the bandwith. Be stingy with your time.
For anyone struggling with the sting of “so sorry, but we’ve had hundreds of submissions this year,” I have no advice except that you’re not alone. As old Aunt Mathilda used to say, “just stay with it. Don’t give up, honey.” At the risk of sounding bitter and pathetic, I won’t bore you with how much I’ve spent on writing classes that haven’t gotten me any closer to finishing my manuscript. But my wasted funds might make you feel better about yourself.
Ladies, I’ve found that people in support groups don’t always pan out the way you wanted. If you think that all the law of attraction stuff and spiritual types are the best way to find kindred friends, you might want to think about joining a bowling group instead. You’ll find better camaraderie. Plus you get to smash things and make noise.
Or if you are really into spirituality, as I am, you haven’t met your people yet. Keep the faith.
Big shots and famous people have staff writers who troll the internet to get ideas…from you! Really. I once wrote a blog post and within weeks, I saw my exact words on a high-profile spiritual hot shot’s ad. Maybe it was my imagination-I have no idea. But at least I got some form of a delusional ego-boost out of it.
STAY WITH IT!
Writers, artists, musicians, poets, and even street bums are all about competition. “Players really only love you when they’re playing.” Shrinks debate each other over theories at workshops. Victims compare wounds in therapy groups. Psychotherapist Irving Yalom shared that one of his most vicious groups of clients were abuse survivors who battled each other over the severity of their stories. I wonder if monks in monasteries compete over how long they can meditate in silence? Does anyone know?
I’m over 60, the age when you’ve already become rather invisible unless you’ve got some kind of “it” factor. And you’re expected not to make waves, or the threat of being labeled bitter is at your heels. Aunt Mathilda told you that you’d get more out of being sweet than the vinegar-spiced sarcastic reply. She was right, but she was wrong. Betty White and Carole Burnett can tell you all about how to age gracefully and be funny. There is a certain freedom that comes with age. There is less time to waste and more pack to the punch.
And to the most awesome people out there-all you young writers and artists, stay with it.
Do the rewrite.
And always have spare dishes around…
Journal prompt: write about rejection. What are your responses? Don’t be polite. What do you find helps you get back on track with your projects? After you have written about rejection, write about a success. It can be from childhood. What is your favorite antidote for rejection? At the end of your journal entry, write: YOU ARE ACCEPTED. This is important.
Always add something positive for yourself. Write a congratulations note to yourself.