Anyone who tells you that being rejected is no big deal is full of shit. I was one of those people who spouted that garbage to others and to myself. Until the rejections for my manuscript started rolling in.
The first few it was easy to brush off and reason that the story wasn’t a good fit for that agent. “I didn’t want that agency anyway,” I told myself. Then I received more rejections and one in particular that really hurt: I love the premise, it’s right up my alley, but I’m going to have to say no. Ouch!
Add to this the rejection any normal human being faces each day, each week. My non-writing job is based on sales in which I hear “no” (or crickets) all too often. My dog would rather play than to cuddle. My husband, even though he meant well, never managed to say the right thing. It’s summer in the Arizona desert and way too hot to enjoy the outdoors (think a freezing cold winter, but opposite). And on and on and on…let me just say that rejection was getting me down and turning me into a person I didn’t recognize.
Instead of what I should have been doing, like CHANGING, I was content to be in a spiral of misery. At this point my dog didn’t even want to play with me, let alone cuddle. That’s when you know it’s bad!
Rejection should light a fire within you. Borges said, “Art = fire + algebra.” I’m not great at math (and we’re not talking about the structure of art here), but I do know that you need the fire if the art is going to mean something.
So, after I was done with my pity party of one, I pulled up my big girl panties and reread a few of those rejection letters. I reread the opening pages of my manuscript. I did a little soul searching. I figured out what my story was missing. Writing it is another blog subject for another day, but the point is– these rejections ultimately rekindled the fire in my art.
Be that lone flower on a desert cactus that refuses to die despite the heat.
It’s not that you are being rejected, but how are you going to proceed after being rejected? I think that speaks volumes to a person’s character, much more than if they were to never be rejected. And who has never in their life been rejected for something or by someone? Seriously. They must be pretty boring.