On Rejection

So, you didn’t get into that contest you wanted…

There are many of them, some harder to get into than others, but each rejection hurts the same. You got your hopes up only to be shot down. You feel worse than before and might even wish you hadn’t submitted in the first place.

Well, that’s okay. Those emotions are valid. Everyone hates rejection, myself included, and it never gets easier. Yet although that sting may never lessen, whether from a query or contest, a full request or a form rejection, you achieved something remarkable. Do you know what that is?

You put yourself out there. Your work made it out of your file folder and into someone’s inbox. One step is still a step, and the staircase can only have so many of them.

What I’m trying to say is that you’re closer.

Whatever your destination, no matter what you’re shooting for, that chance you took didn’t just end with rejection after all. It rippled out like a rock in a pond. One ripple might mean you met someone new in the process. Perhaps a critique partner, or a mentor. Maybe just a writing friend to cheer you on when the path ahead is full of doubt. Another ripple could be that, in the process of applying, you tightened that manuscript. You improved the words on the page and can now query an agent.

These ripples are endless and, so often, we ignore them. Dwelling on the rejection is the last thing a writer should do. It’s the last thing any creative-minded individual should do. Our business is rife with them, even after you’ve reached what you might believe is the end of that figurative staircase. Even when that rejection transforms into an offer…and it will if you keep trying.

So, whether you applied to Pitch Wars or WriteMentor or Author Mentor Match, don’t dwell on that rejection. You still applied. I can’t say how many rejections I received, but they were numerous and each one stung. However, I kept on my journey. That perseverance saw my acceptance into two writing contests, multiple offers of representation, and I’ll have more news to come one day. Why? Because I’ll look a rejection dead in the eyes and smile.

Keep going, friends. I believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourselves. It may not feel like you’re one step closer. Not today, at least.

But you are.