Rejected and Dejected

28 Apr

You put yourself out there, on a pedestal all lit up, alone and bare and hopeful, so hopeful. This is the scenario we as writers have to deal with daily – whether we’re sending manuscripts off to prospective agents or publishers, emailing snippets to our critique partner or simply plunging into a new draft head first – it’s all about thrusting our inner-most selves out there for the world to see and praying that it will be liked.

Today I got rejected. It wasn’t a writing-related rejection, but it was a rejection all the same. A standard email, thanks but no thanks, we wish you well, yadda, yadda, yadda. To be perfectly honest I never held out much hope for this one, but still, deep down in my secret heart was an inkling reminiscent of hope that now aches as I agonise over each word in the rejection.

The pessimistic side of me says that I never stood a chance anyway, that I wasn’t good enough and I’ll never be good enough. The realistic side of me, however, tells me that I wasn’t ready and shouldn’t feel dejected over something I knew I wouldn’t get (because really, I did know right from the start that it would be a long shot).

As with my writing, the self-doubting, pessimistic side wins out, and I allow myself to be dragged down into its dank, depressive depths. Every word of that rejection swirls around in my mind, reminding me of my lack of worth with each turn of them. I know I shouldn’t feel like this but I do. I know this is a weakness but I don’t care.

Today’s rejection has got me thinking about something that has often been in my thoughts since getting serious with my writing – how would I handle the rejection of my beloved novel if I can’t even handle a silly application rejection? I’ve always thought I would be okay with receiving a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ from a literary agent or a publisher. I’d be upset, sure, but the world would still go on the same as it had before and I wouldn’t give up just because somebody said no. Now, though, I’m not so sure I wouldn’t just drop my bundle and tear my manuscript into a million, self-hating pieces and burn them in a 44-gallon drum in the back yard.

How do you handle rejection? Is a day spent wallowing in self-pity acceptable, or do you like to get straight back on the horse right away (so to speak)?

10 Responses to “Rejected and Dejected”

  1. Kathy Charles 28/04/2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Rejection never gets easier. I will cry and rail for about a day then emerge energised and phoenix-like from the ashes of my despair. I also firmly believe that so much in life comes down to luck. You’ve just gotta keep going until you’ve exhausted every avenue, then try again.

    • thewritingant 28/04/2010 at 2:50 pm #

      Thanks, Kathy. Luck definitely plays a huge part, I agree. I’m not upset enough to cry this time (if it was a writing rejection I’d be bawling my eyes out!) because it was (only) a job application, but it still strangles the ‘ol heart a bit.

      • Kathy Charles 28/04/2010 at 2:52 pm #

        Yeah. Rejection has a way of squeezing all optimism from you. I find wine helps. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • thewritingant 28/04/2010 at 2:57 pm #

        I have a bottle of Feijoa wine at home that I brought back from New Zealand and haven’t opened yet, so that sounds like a good plan indeed. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Heather 28/04/2010 at 3:05 pm #

    It’s all about the rally. The best way to deal with a rejection is to put yourself out there again, try to find out what went wrong, and apply to somewhere else. It might be hard with jobs and college aps, but you can send the MS to another agent and maybe they’ll love it. Always keep going forward.

    • thewritingant 28/04/2010 at 3:11 pm #

      Thanks, Heather. Tonight the plan is to open that bottle of wine and jump on the job vacancies sites again and see what else I can find. I still have one out there in the world yet to be replied to, but it’s always best not to put all your eggs in one basket, just in case. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Grumpy 02/05/2010 at 10:54 am #

    Aw man. I haven’t really let myself think that far ahead. I am pretty sure I would be devastated. I would wallow for a while and hopefully get back on with it…whether that be fixing up the rejected work or moving on to the next.

    • thewritingant 24/05/2010 at 8:21 am #

      Thanks for your comment. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry it took me so long to reply to it.

  4. Theresa Milstein 03/05/2010 at 8:23 pm #

    I feel for you. Some days I take it well. Oh, another rejection. But many just stick with me, and I walk around in a fog for a day or two. We all carry those doubts and negative thoughts from time to time, but we must keep at it.

    • thewritingant 24/05/2010 at 8:23 am #

      Thank you, Theresa. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who wallows in it for a few days. We do need to pick ourselves back up again, though. I moved on from my rejections after a couple of days, and now they seem like nothing but at the time it was most painful. Thanks for your comment and sorry I took so long to respond.

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