What interested me the most about the rejections that authors received from publishers and agents, beside the types of letters, and diversity of the language in the negative responses (some very positive, also), was the reaction of the author. I know when my reject slips started flooding in, I felt angry, defensive, bewildered, and sometimes indignant (usually not all at the same time). I worked hard to keep my spirits up, and push through a bit of despair to send my stories to the next publisher, hopeful of an acceptance.
We’re resilient. We’ve bended, adapted, shifted, sometimes in ways we never thought we could. I most certainly did not handle all my rejections effectively. I cursed out several agents (the one who sent the fortune cookie size response). I even wrote to one agent and told her how rude she was in her rejection letter, and would suggest no one hire her—since we do have to pay them for services.
Anyway, the resilient person, moi, does not always, to this day, handle refusal of my work well. However, the strength, I believe, is in the ability to rebound. According to Robert Brooks, Ph.D, there are four concepts that help people when confronted with rejection. All four have been touched upon in The Ladykillers Blog this week at one point or other. I’m just putting them all together.
- Avoid self-defeating assumption. Rejections do not indicate a basic flaw in our personality.
- Don’t magnify the rejection in terms of the impact it has on your life. It is not a forecast of your future. After about 75 rejection slips, I sorta had a hard time believing this one.
- Don’t allow the rejection to derail your dreams. Persevere.
- Learn from the rejection, even if there is no suggestion for change. Seek helpful feedback from others.
- (Mine) reevaluate the agents and publishers, the people you are hoping to win over–they my not be right for you. I’ve had to change my list several times.
- STAY RESILIENT!
Can you add to this list? What has helped you stay resilient? Cat buddies that purr on your lap are acceptable.