I was fortunate enough to receive a wonderfully blunt and unequivocal rejection yesterday. I have fairly thick skin, and I have received my fair share of rejection. I firmly believe that rejection is necessary to keep a writer hungry–to make them write harder…write better. I consider it a bit of a challenge, actually. Ok, so you didn’t like that story. Fine, I get that. But wait until you see what I write next.
I am aware that I am in good company. History is full of writers who proved publishers/editors/agents wrong. There are entire websites devoted to these (now) laughable rejections. Apparently, one publisher advised Stephen King, “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.” Mwhahahahah! And, after we all dried our tears of laughter, we went for a midnight showing of Hunger Games. (Good thing no one told Suzanne Collins about the lack of interest in dystopian stories!)
Actually, though, sometimes it is better to be harsh than to coddle. Coddling doesn’t get up my ire. It doesn’t inspire me to prove someone wrong. Bah! Warm fuzzies are for friends.
Now, I have a lot of writer friends and, believe me, I cherish them! They understand the sting of rejection. They have felt it too. And, sometimes, they feel your rejections even keener than they feel their own. They know when to comfort and when to criticize. But, whichever role they are cast to play on any given day, their words, their advice, their deeds are all done to help build you up–never to tear you down.
However, I am not a wound licker. I am a writer. So I will file this rejection away with the others. It may be sharper in tone, but the result is the same: I take from it what I can, then I tuck it away and go back to the keyboard to write.
Perhaps the best part of all of this is that, in writing this post, I stumbled across a brilliant rejection letter.
So my wish for all writers is this: May all of your rejections inspire you, and may all of your missteps create the opportunity for you to be “caught” by good friends. Oh, and wine…a glass of wine never hurts.