Friday, September 28, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Coping with Rejection

"Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil - but there is no way around them." - Isaac Asimov

Have any of you out there ever had to cope with rejection? If your answer is "no" I'd like to know what planet you're living on. For those of you who live on earth and have experienced rejection, you know what Mr. Asimov is talking about. Sometimes I feel like the publishing "eagles" are ripping apart my writerly "flesh". Yes. I'm being a bit overdramatic. But the pain is real. True?

As with most things we deal with in life, we have coping mechanisms. How do I cope with the pain of rejection? After I spend some time licking my wounds, I take away whatever is useful to improve my writing and let the rest arouse my fighting spirit. Rejection gives me something to prove. Encourages me to work harder. Energizes my creative spirit. Something inside of me shouts, "Take that! You'll live to regret that rejection!" 

Yes. I realize rejection is subjective. And I don't take it too personally. Nonetheless, a writer has to cope. 

How do you deal with rejection?


  1. I'd like to meet someone who hasn't dealt w/ rejection. I would reject them just so they could see what it feels like. ;) Seriously, how I deal w/ it depends on the severity of the rejection but usually it drives me to work that much harder. I try to never take it personally. I think that's the key to getting through it.

  2. I have learned to not take it personally but take it as an opportunity to improve. Thanks for this post, Angelina. :)

  3. Rejection is hard. For the big ones I allow myself 3 days of self-pity -- but only 3 days, then it's back in the saddle again. I always remind myself that more rejections = more successes. After all, the ONLY guarantee is that you'll miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

  4. I find that only the oh-so-close ones even register. The ones where the editor was excited and had written that it’s the strongest she’s seen in years, passed it on to another editor who was also on board, then told me one more person had to read it, or that it was going to acquisitions, or …
    Then a short paragraph- ‘couldn’t get the support,’ and the ‘sorry but I’m afraid I have to pass.’
    These are the ‘lacerations of the soul’ Asimov spoke of. I’ve only had a few, and they took weeks to recover from.
    If you submit your work at all, the other kind of rejection form/personal form letters will abound. I’ve long adopted the Ellen Jackson method of coping- send it to the next on the list. If the list is exhausted, move on.

  5. Getting a rejection usually ruins my day (which isn't surprising), but I try and think about what I can do better in the next query/manuscript. It's all about keeping on moving forward.

  6. At first, they ruined my week. Now, they just ruin the hour I receive them in. After that, I dust off and move on. It's all we can do.

  7. Rejection is hard for everyone, I'm sure. I admit, I'm afraid of it. I'm so afraid of it, I allow my manuscripts to sit and gather dust. But, I've come to realize that I'll never be able to please everyone, and I'm good with that. So, to cope, I've decided to allow a shove now and then. I've partnered with others to give myself a little push. I'm great when others depend on me. It's my way of coping.

    1. You reject yourself when you don't submit. Glad to hear you're getting a shove. ^_^

  8. I swear to be better and fight back. HARD! Some of course or worse than others. Some days I whine. Other days I wine. Whatever gets me back to sanity.

  9. Rejections shook me much more when I was just starting out, but they got MUCH easier with time. Now they only rattle me if I'm in a vulnerable place--or if they come in bulk. ;)

  10. I'm with Jaye, I WINE. I also CHOCOLATE and MAC & CHEESE. It's not a good way to deal with rejection, so I don't recommend it.
    Mostly I let myself grieve. It DOES hurt. I am flattened. I try to accept that as real and try not to pretend otherwise. I find that doing this - giving myself the chance to live in the yucky moment - helps me get through the rejection faster than trying to pretend I'm fine. Rejection is bad. But giving up is worse. The next day I too FIGHT.

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