Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rejections!

Hi guys,

How are you doing? I thought today we should talk about a topic that makes me cringe just to think about it: rejections.

Knock on wood.

I decided, not too long ago, I wanted to pursue a career as a writer. Since I was a kid, I loved writing stories, but for some reason I saw it as a hobby, rather than as a career path I could take. I don't know why -- I loved writing stories, really, but I went to journalism school, instead. When I couldn't suppress any longer my need to write fiction, I figured out I'd be a way happier girl if I did exactly what my heart kept urging me to do. And so I now work toward becoming published.

It's been a very exciting journey so far. It's like being on a roller-coaster, really. What could be more fulfilling than writing down stories and getting a free ride to Dreamland whenever I sit down at my desk to write? Writing allows me a world of opportunities. I've met so many great characters and other writers, and have been to such wonderful places. I feel complete. I know I'll never be alone. But, when it comes to getting published, whatever publishing means you choose, the ride becomes a little bit scary.

I don't know about you, but when I show my writing to other people, as much as I want them to enjoy it, I also can't help feeling exposed. There is so much of myself in my stories, so many layers of thoughts and memories that mean so much to me, I'm suddenly afraid I'm telling too much. I'm exposing myself to criticism, whether it is constructive or not. I'm immediately afraid of getting rejected.

If you are a writer, you know exactly what I'm talking about. 


Last year, I wrote my first novel in English. I also tried to get an agent. But it didn't work out. I knew I'd get rejected, but when the rejections started showing up in my inbox, I felt really insecure. Perhaps I shouldn't care when I get rejected, but I do. It stings. It hurts a lot, even when I say to myself it's natural to get rejected. People have different opinions, and it's normal they don't like everything you do or write. Still, though, rejections more than often make me feel misunderstood. . . and, worse, they make me doubt the quality of my work and creativity.

Rejections, however, do not mean an agent didn't understand your story, your effort, your dreams and hopes. Rejections just reflect a person's taste. Agents, above all, are readers. They can see you are talented and that your writing means the world to you, but as readers, for a reason or another, the world you created was not for them. 

A picture of one of my mom's kittens -- cheer up, guys!
Most of us (if not all of us) get sad when we hear "I just didn't fall in love with your story as I hoped I would" in a rejection, but what I want from now on is to do the following mental exercise whenever I get rejected: I want to think of the many times I went in a bookstore looking for a book to help me escape to a different reality, and remember precisely that I said no to many great works, before I picked up a book that felt right. I had nothing against the other authors -- I just was looking for a different reading experience.

I currently am in the query trenches again with another work. Rejections are to come. And positive responses, too. This time, however, I'll look at the process from a different perspective.

How do you feel when you get rejected? How do you handle rejections? Do you have any personal techniques you use to keep self-doubt away when you get a negative response to your writing? 

3 comments:

  1. I always work on something else while querying. Not only does it keep me excited about writing, I find that I'm not checking my e-mail and stressing as much. When those rejections do come in, I shrug them off and move on.

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  2. Today would suggest I deal with them by saying an emphatic "YES" when asked if I want whipped cream.

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  3. I can so relate! I'm such a mess I can't even work on my new stuff - just spinning my wheels over here in emo-trainwreck-ville. I'm going to need way more chocolate, booze, and ice cream to survive this. And bigger pants apparently. *sigh*

    Onward, bag of Dove chocolates in hand...

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