Monday, May 20, 2013

Rejection

Let's talk about rejection.
It's painful.
Embarrassing.
Depressing.
Unnerving.
Hurtful.
Annoying.
Rage-inducing.
Panic-inducing.
Doubt-inducing.
Yes, all of the above.
But also this: MOTIVATIONAL!!!
Yep, I just wrote that. How, you wonder, can I possibly consider rejection an integral, vital, necessary, and encouraging part of the writing process?
There are several answers to this, so I'll start with the biggest: it's a step forward IF you CHOOSE to let it be. I'll never forget a conversation I had with a friend about rejection letters. He was proud, in a strange way, of the amount he had. Because it spurred him to work harder, to reexamine what he'd done and work to mold and improve it, to learn about his writing and the writing business - because it IS a business (I'll blog more on this at a later date).
Which brings me to my second point. Many people advocate never changing your vision, never compromising, never stop believing in what you create. I'm not here to argue that. But I do want to add that we grow not by refusing to learn, but by believing in our ability to change and accept that we are not infallible. We become better writers by re-examining, re-thinking, and re-writing. That doesn't mean we give up our characters and plots and worlds, but rather, that we perfect them. An idea shouldn't ever be just "good enough" for you to accept. We should always strive as writers to be responsible to our stories and to our audiences. They deserve our greatest effort.
So then, my final thought, from a conversation with my alpha readers. Rejection is one step closer to acceptance. It's never a step back because I choose to use those letters as motivation for pushing forward and believing in myself. 
I end this blog with an excerpt from a recent rejection letter - in fact, it's the best rejection letter I've had so far. Not because it says a lot (quite the opposite), but it says just enough to make me believe even more strongly that I am on the right path. 
So don't be afraid of rejection. Embrace it instead as the step forward it is:
"We are going to pass on this particular effort, but I hope we shall see more stories from you in the future. This is a good story..."

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