This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge–blogging every day in the month of April (except Sundays!) with each letter of the alphabet.
The dreaded ‘R’ word is one that every writer fears, but every writer has to deal with at some point. If you’re going to put yourself out there and try to get published, you’re almost certainly going to deal with rejection at some point. You won’t make all the shots you take, but it’s important to take those shots. With each one you get better, even when the failure hurts.
Rejection comes in different ways–agents and editors may reject you with a form letter (which sucks) or a more detailed rejection letting you know exactly why the piece doesn’t work for them (which can sting even more). It’s hard to be told no and it’s hard to be told you aren’t good enough for someone. Constructive criticism can be difficult to swallow when you’re reeling with sadness and shame. But you should take a deep breath, calm down, and work on processing that criticism at some point.
Sometimes rejections are helpful. They open your eyes to what’s wrong with your writing and show you a better path to take. You can learn lessons from rejections. This is why a basic form letter sucks so much, because it doesn’t give you any clue what you did wrong–if you did anything wrong at all. Maybe the agent or editor just wasn’t looking for what you had to offer right then or didn’t want anything new. Worse than knowing why you failed is dangling in the void, clueless.
Rejections shouldn’t be cruel and hurtful. If they are, consider yourself lucky you dodged a bullet and won’t be associating yourself with that person or their business. No matter how an agent or editor feels about your work they should be courteous and formal–ones who aren’t are poisonous and unprofessional, and you don’t want them handling your work. Likewise, no matter how much a rejection hurts, you should never argue with it or tell the person off. Your unprofessional behavior will be noted and passed around among their colleagues.
How do you deal with rejection? Do you try to learn from it? Are there methods you’ve found to help soften the blow?