Rejection is a part of life but in the writing world there are lots of opportunities for rejection. Putting yourself or your work out there in the world means that people can choose to accept or reject it. For every email beginning ‘unfortunately on this occasion…’ I have to remember that someone somewhere is getting an ‘I’m delighted to tell you…’ and be happy for a fellow creative.
So here are my top five tips for handling rejection.
- It’s not you, it’s me. The hardest part of rejection is not taking it personally, after all, someone is saying, ‘yeah, thanks but no thanks.’ It can often seem unfair but you have to trust that the person handing out the rejection has considered the options fairly and made a balanced decision. If they haven’t and have picked their mates instead, well perhaps it wasn’t the opportunity for you.
- Have a wallow. Rejection in whatever form does hurt and can feel personal sometimes so it’s good to acknowledge the feeling, wallow in it, have a weep and hide under the duvet for a day or two. It’s how we bounce back that counts. Or maybe not so much bounce back as stumble red-eyed and snotty back. But back all the same.
- Don’t give up. I’ve come close to giving up on so many occasions, but I try and remember why I write in the first place. I write because I enjoy it, because I get a real sense of achievement and because it’s my therapy in times of stress. If I gave up my writing because of someone’s personal opinion (even if they’re an expert in their field) I’d be punishing myself and then probably taking up an unsuitable (for me) hobby like flower-arranging or interpretive dance to take its place.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. I constantly torture myself with people who have gone further, done better and are more talented than me. My Twitter timeline is full of success stories and incredible achievements and it’s easy to get sucked into feeling that you’ll never be as good. Perhaps not but there will also be people starting their creative journey who are further behind you. Which leads me to…
- Remind yourself how good you are. This is a bit count-your-blessings but it helps if I remind myself how far I’ve come, professionally and personally. Many people want to write books or scripts but haven’t yet started. Not only have I started, I’ve finished several and have had plays produced in a variety of theatres. Little by little I work and improve and one day that will pay off. One day.
So how do you deal with rejection? Any top tips?