Think of any long-term pursuit — selling your art, starting an online business, launching a nonprofit organization — and you soon realize that the road to every cheerful “yes!” is paved with multiple moments of “no, thanks.” How do you pick up the pieces and plough ahead? Writer Holland Raerecently published “Hello Rejection, My Old Friend,” in which she reflects on failure, how she copes with it, and how it inspires her to move forward.
Holland, who writes both historical and contemporary romance fiction, knows that excitement and disappointment are emotions you can feel in very close succession:
The notification pops up on your phone or in your inbox and your heart takes a wild, insane ride. First, it goes up — way too high up — as your expectations soar. Then, you ground yourself, reminders of just how much the deck is stacked against you flit through your mind. Your heart plummets.
She tries to stay grounded and confident, keeping the personal and professional as separate as possible (which, granted, isn’t always easy):
I have gotten a lot of rejections. In fact, I pride myself on being pretty good at divorcing the rejection of my work from the rejection of me as a person. There are a thousand reasons why a submission might not fit with a publishing house, magazine, or newspaper and none of them have to do with my personality.
Holland acknowledges that the sting of a rejection email isn’t just about the immediate outcome — these events can accumulate and have a broader effect on one’s career.
If this publishing house had accepted me, that would have been it. But, since they didn’t, I’m back where I was and without even the hope or potential of this acceptance to make me feel like I might be working towards something.
But she ends her post on a note of gritty acceptance — these setbacks have forced her to hone her craft and become a better writer.
This is as much a part of being a writer as putting the words to the page. It’s as much a part of being a writer as the late night edits and the early morning social media marketing. This as much a part of being a writer as every submission, every query letter, every synopsis.
Don’t miss the rest of Holland Rae’s post — just head over to her site.
How do you deal with rejection (of any type — you don’t have to be a writer to respond)? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments.