On Rejection

being read

The other day, my friend and fellow novelist Bob Evenhouse wrote about his novel fearing rejection. Go on over and give him a gander. I remember those days. The shaking hand before hitting “send”. The way my tummy stirred and flopped and dropped to my toes at the thought of the words “No! You stink! You should NEVER write again!”.

Yeah. That’s pretty scary.

Until it happens. And you cry your make-up off (I don’t think Bob wears make-up, though). You get furiously angry with the entire world for about a week. You throw away all your pens. Burn all your paper…or at least threaten to. Wish terrible things to happen to the one who rejected you…until the guilt sets in and you hope they’re okay and that they never ever know that you were so off the wall crazy to think such a thing.

But then, you get over the hurt. Realize that it wasn’t so much of a rejection. That it was more of a “no thank you”. Remember that it’s a big sea. And that the fish aren’t all looking for the same worm.

And you learn that if they say something hurtful and rude and insulting that they are the LAST person on the planet you want to work with. (True story, I had someone reject my work by saying that I’d never make it as a writer. Eh. Whatever, you know?)

You realize that the rejection, the no thank you, wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Being trampled by a herd of rabid buffalos would be worse. Being the main course for a great white shark is WAY worse. Getting salsa in your paper cut is even worse.

Because the rejection makes you better. Stronger. More aware of what needs work in your manuscript. And it’s just another chance to find the best home for your work.

Now, success. That’s scary. Really, really scary.

Not kidding.

So, tell me…do you fear rejection? Not just with writing. But in life. How do you deal with that? I love to hear from you…even if it’s completely off topic. I just like you! 

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6 thoughts on “On Rejection

  1. You last comments about fearing success really made me smile. Sometimes I just feel so caught in the middle. I have never sent out a manuscript because I fear that rejection, but when I do something right, or I am telling friends about my favorite stories and they are on the edge of their seats and beg to see my (as of yet) unedited novel, I start to panic.
    Fearing success is really just fearing rejection on a bigger scale. I have found the more successful I am, the further I have to fall if/when I am rejected or “found out.” I sometimes find myself waiting for the day when someone will realize I am not as good at something as they thought I was.
    Then I get ahold of myself, stop wolfing down the Cheetos while huddled in the corner and realize we all are blessed way beyond what we deserve. We all are still trying to figure out life while not even understanding who we are fully. I will fail at many, many things, but I will also learn so much and become so much more of the person I was created to be and if I let myself live in fear, I am rejecting my Creator’s promise of protection and love.

    Thank you so much, Susie, for letting me know I am not the only one who feels the grip of fear at times. Your posts are always so full of humility, humanity, and honesty. No matter what anyone may ever say, keep writing. . . forever. 😀

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    • Yes! To all of this! One thing I’ll add is this. The more you succeed, the more there are certain people who want to see you fail. Isn’t that insane?

      I’m glad we can encourage each other! Thanks for contributing to this conversation. You have a lot to share. Rock on.

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  2. I’ll crawl out of my hole for a few minutes to let you know I appreciated this immensely! Thanks for always being honest and real Susie! I fear rejection in almost all areas of my life and find myself putting on a face more often than not but I think that’s just my way of coping lol! I fear failure as well… With writing, knitting, mothering, being a wife lol but it always ends up ok which I have to learn to tell myself while in the trenches!!:)

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    • Oh! Fear of failure can be crippling. I hear ya. Especially as a mom. But, Hope you have a very special, very significant purpose. And I’m so proud of your kindness and your encouraging nature! You make the world a better place.

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  3. Excellent advice Susie. I think rejection is part of the refining process. You can learn and grow and it is part of become a better writer. Though at times it can be as fun as being dragged through streets of broken glass.

    Also, just for the record, I haven’t used make-up in ages 😉

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  4. Pingback: It’s A Writer’s Job To Be Rejected | Writing Is Hard Work

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