|Thanks to Charles M. Schulz,|
we know how Snoopy deals with rejection!
Whatever the reason, some terrific advice is being offered in the blogosphere:
On the Institute of Children's Literature site, Jan Fields welcomes you to her "Pity Party." Among the many fine points she discusses, Jan reminds us is that "rejections are about specific manuscripts in specific situations."
I learned this lesson at the 2014 SCBWI LA Conference. An editor admitted that she had passed on Pat Zietlow Miller's picture book, SOPHIE'S SQUASH. She just didn't connect with the manuscript. Well, the author was at the same conference, accepting her Golden Kite Award for SOPHIE'S SQUASH, which had been published by Schwartz and Wade and received four starred reviews!
Tara Lazar offers an extensive list of "Common Rejections and What They Mean." My latest rejection, just last week, was a form rejection. That's my second least-favorite type of rejection, with nothing constructive to offer. (For my least favorite, refer to the Black Hole, above ^^^.) But in the past year, I've also heard "It's too quiet," "It's not right for us at this time," and "I didn't quite connect with this in the way I'd hoped." Tara de-mystifies these phrases in her post. Check it out.
So, how do you feel about rejections? I usually feel like this:
|Photo by Lawrence Whittemore.|
Often, a wise quote is enough to lift my spirits.
"Fall seven times, stand up eight." ~ Japanese proverb
"So you're taking a few blows. That's the price for being in the arena and not on the sidelines." ~ The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." ~ Thomas Edison
But sometimes my funk is deep. When that happens, I often pull out an old buddy of a book to get me through. BIRD BY BIRD: SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WRITING AND LIFE by Anne Lamott always makes me laugh and reminds me that even a successful writer has a multitude of demons. And yet she also has a path out, step by step, bird by bird.
Recently, I also looked over my copy of
THE WRITER'S BOOK OF HOPE: GETTING FROM FRUSTRATION TO PUBLICATION, by Ralph Keyes. The author devotes an entire chapter on "Keeping Hope Alive." I love some of his suggestions:
1) Build a Consolation File -- a collection of information about famous writers who were repeatedly rejected, like JK Rowling, Dr Seuss, and Madeline L'Engle. Author websites can also offer insight and reassurance, such as Dan Gutman's rejection letters for HONUS & ME.
2) Study the acknowledgements in novels. Ralph Keyes says that these often confirm that the author was discouraged while writing their book, they received support from encouraging people in their lives, and that support helped them complete the book and get it published.
3) Attend conferences and courses. Because writers are often so isolated, this will help you see that you are not alone in your feelings and frustrations, nor in your odd work habits. (How many of you write in your jammies? C'mon...be honest...) You can join SCBWI, or meet with a critique group. Be part of a Facebook community. Connect through blogs. Find your peeps. ('Tis the season for Peeps!)
Ralph Keyes offers several other ways to keep despair at bay and hope alive. (Chapter 9 in my edition.)
Rejection stinks. Someone doesn't like your baby. You have every right to feel crabby and blue. Just don't let it derail you. If all else fails, make a game of it. Heather Ayris Burnell has invited the Sub It Club to play Rejection Bingo with Kirsten Larson. Now that's a great way to deal with rejection!
How do you deal with rejection?