rachelcoker



Dealing With Rejection

I’m going to give you some advice today. This is a semi-rare occurrence, so be sure to listen up. 😉 Normally I love to share with you all the upbeat, positive, and encouraging aspects of my life. And it’s true that being an author is a wonderful thing. I get to meet so many people and talk to so many readers. And, hello! I get to basically sit around and write for a living, which is obviously awesome. 😉 But today I want to share with you another, less exciting part of the writing/publishing journey. And that is rejection.

To be a writer, you need to have tough skin. I decided before my book became published, that I was never going to cry about it. No matter how mean people were in their criticisms of me or my work, I was going to keep a stiff upper lip. I realize now that I was being prideful and stuck-up when I told myself that. Why? Because I was assuming that it would be beneath me to have feelings. That it would make me a weaker person to be hurt when someone doesn’t like me. That my book was above criticism or reproach.

There have been cases where I have dealt with rejection, and felt that it was totally unfair. Ever received a rejection letter from an agent that sounds like it was typed out in ten seconds and sent to every single wannabe writer who ever contacted them? I have. Dozens of them. And I’ve been looked over for speaking engagements, book signings, and workshops. But I’m okay with that. Really and truly okay.

What’s harder is when I deal with criticism from someone who has actually read my book and didn’t like it. Because I know that it sounds vain and prideful and arrogant, but I want people to like me! Obviously I see all the flaws with my work, probably better than anyone else. And yet every time I hear someone make a stinging remark about it, it stings me, too. It hurts to hear people say that I need to mature, or be less preachy, or be more preachy, or make up better endings. Let me make it clear again, I totally realize that all of that is one hundred percent true, but it messes with my pride.

Now is when I’m going to give you that advice I promised at the beginning of the post. Here it is: Find someone who will criticize you, reject you, and make you feel like a piece of dirt. And then thank them. Because that person has done way more for you than any fan of your writing will ever do.

That’s probably not what you were expecting me to say, but I’ll try to make it clear. Every time I have been angry or upset or hurt by something someone said about me, I grew that much more. God shapes us through our humbling and embarrassing experiences. Sometimes it takes a critic to remind us that we are not perfect, and never will be. Our work will always have flaws, and we’ll always need people to point that out for us. No matter how good we may be feeling about ourselves, there will always be at least one aspect of our lives that we can work on.

I can’t say that I’m quite ready yet to cheer on my critics. To develop tough skin and smile with a sweet “Thank you” every time I read something negative about my book. But even if it might bring me down for a while, I’m thankful for the opportunities to grow. To remember that it is only by the grace of God that I can write anything even half-good at all! To be grateful for discovering another thing that I can work to be better at. And to share with others the big things that God is doing in my life, shaping me through rejections and growing me through pain.

-Rachel

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Comments

  1. * Lady Kins says:

    That’s great advice for all manner of life, not just writing!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago
  2. * Alyson says:

    I have not had to deal with rejection as much in writing than my art. I like to compete in art shows and competitions. Art is truly me on a canvas, and if they don’t like it; it’s like they don’t like me. (a painting of a dead fly was picked over a hibiscus flower- still trying to figure that one out) But it’s also nice to have someone pay me for a commission and I asked them what they wanted and they said, “Be you. I want you on a painting” That was pretty cool.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago
    • * RachelC says:

      Wow, that’s great, Alyson! Yes, I definitely think you should apply it to art–not everyone is going to like everything you create, but you have to keep doing it anyway. It’s about expressing yourself and doing what you love, not trying to please others. 🙂

      | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago
  3. Thanks, Rachel! I liked this post a lot. Writing for me is like an extension of myself so I definitely take it personally when someone critques my work and doesn’t like it. But it’s true that with rejection comes growth. Growth in character, growth in writing abilities. It stings, but it helps over time. 🙂 Thanks for the great reminder. 🙂

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago
  4. * mynovelmyenchantment says:

    Couldn’t agree with all of that more. I am still genuinely pleased, as a novice, to receive any criticism because its early days and somehow not hurtful because it’s almost always correct. What I find hard is never knowing from the agents’ rejections, whether my premise, which obviously I like, is hopeless or whether it’s just that my writing is still not good enough; do I need to start a whole new novel, or is time spent on this one worthwhile from a potential for publication point of view. I think it is – but I have no way of gaining a purely objective opinion. That’s the tricky thing. But I LOVE writing – so I just get on with it and keep revising. Reading blogs like this helps me realise I’m just like everyone else and that’s really encouraging.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago
    • * RachelC says:

      I’m really glad you were encouraged! Yeah, some agents can be so impersonal in their rejections. 😦 But if you do find an agent who explains to you what he/she doesn’t like about your work, then be thankful! That person has given you something you can work on. It happened to me, and it was discouraging at first, but it encouraged me to keep on writing! 🙂

      | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago
  5. * bookpics4alba says:

    this post *-* omg… I simply ❤ you now…

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago
  6. Great advice, rejection is horrible but we all get it, we have to dust ourselves off and try again!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago


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