Friday, November 20, 2009

The Reality of Rejection

Photo by baikahl/StockXchange.com

If you hang around writers, you know the topic of rejection comes up.

It's our least favorite thing to talk about--but, talk about it we do. We tell each other when we get rejection letters. Maybe we forward them to our critique partners. Or we compare rejection tallies--battle scars, as it were.

A writing buddy shared that she got a rejection letter -- and several writing friends (me, included) rallied around her with e-mail shouts of, "You can do it!" and "We believe in you!" and "Rejection is all part of the writing game!"

I went sleuthing on the Internet and found a post on Rejecting Rejection by author James Scott Bell. (I've got a fun James Scott Bell story--but that's another post!) He starts with a story about, of all things, a matador:

The writer Barnaby Conrad tells the story of a matador, all decked out in his "suit of lights," talking to a group of reporters outside the arena.

One reporter asks,"How did you happen to become a bullfighter?"

The matador replied," I took up bullfighting because of the uncertainty of being a writer."

Bell then goes on to list a few things writers need to keep in mind when we get a "thumbs down" from an editor, agent or publisher:
  1. Rejection is not personal.
  2. Rejection happens to the best.
  3. Rejection can point the way.
  4. Rejection is not final.

I would probably add a fifth thing to remember: Rejection is not optional. But, to best handle that reality, I need to remember James Scott Bell's four points!

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