Raise your hand if you like rejection.
I’m willing to bet that most of you reading this article did not raise your hand. In fact, I’m sure that a lot of you try to avoid getting rejected at all cost.
Rejection can be a painful experience. However, contrary to what the world may tell you, rejection can actually be a good thing for writers. In can be a necessary experience to make writers more successful in the long run. Here’s why…
How do you initially respond to rejection? Do you:
Want to hide from the world?
Curl up in a corner and cry?
Get angry and lash out?
Or do you take it in your stride and keep on moving forward?
Whatever your initial response may be, you need to accept rejection and own it. Acknowledge the pain and disappointment.
After you accept, own, and acknowledge the rejection, it’s time to make a decision about the path you will take to move forwards.
In other words, rejection forces you to examine yourself and reflect on your choices and your plans.
I remember landing my first big writing gig. It was covering sports for a fast-growing online publication. I was a bit nervous initially, because my work was going to be seen by a larger audience. Additionally, I was less confident in my writing abilities back then, compared to my confidence level today.
I wrote my first column and it was a disaster. My editor shot it back in near record time, rejecting it with so many “red” corrections that I thought he had spilled blood while editing it.
I was speechless. In fact, it felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. At first, I curled up and withered. I didn’t want anyone to see me as the failure I thought I was.
After throwing a pity party for one, my pride and resiliency kicked in. I looked at myself in the mirror and came to a powerful conclusion with my reflection — I would not give up!
I chose the path of growth. At the time, I had no idea how this path would help me grow as a writer. All I knew was that I didn’t want to quit. I had worked hard to get to the point of even landing that job. So I wasn’t going to let one poorly written column ruin it all for me.
My choice to not give up paid off in the long run. I worked hard to improve in the areas that my editor’s red pen had pointed out. Within a few months, I received a promotion. Within a year, I became the poster child for this company because they were proud of my growth and how I handled the initial rejection. They used my story as a way to recruit other writers, motivate other employees, and inspire potential customers and advertisers.
More than the accolades and praise, I learned some powerful lessons and tools from this rejection. In fact, these lessons and tools continue to make me the successful writer that I am today, nearly 10 years later.
Self-reflection is a great way to learn how you can grow, not only as a writer but as a person as well. I learnt this all through rejection.
Like any other trade or skill, practice makes perfect. We weren’t born as perfect writers.
Writing is a skill that you have to constantly work at, and rejection can go a long way in helping you hone your writing skills.
When dealing with rejection, it is important to shift your perspective. Stop looking at rejection as a negative result, and instead shift your perspective to view rejection as a pathway to growth and success.
Rejection is not “the end of the world.” So many times, we face rejection and think that our career is over. However, this not true. You must shift your perspective from thinking this to seeing rejection as a temporary hurdle. You can do this by:
Another way to shift your perspective is to refer to rejection by another word or phrase. For example, I’ve at times replaced the word ‘”rejection” with “temporary delay” or “writing hurdle.”
This small change in language can be a big step towards shifting your perspective on rejection. Most people don’t view hurdles or delays as the end of the world, like they do with rejection.
That being said, let me reinforce that rejection is not the end of the world. It’s only a temporary delay on your path to success.
Rejection can help you grow as a writer, because it makes you focus on your weaknesses. When you focus on your weaknesses and work to make them better, those weaknesses can become your strengths.
For example, a client or publication may want you to engage the audience more in your writing. You sit down, write a great article, turn in your work, and it’s sent back with the feedback. The feedback could be anything from “not the right tone of voice” to “not engaging enough.”
So now you’re faced with two options: give up and quit, or learn how to write in a more engaging manner.
Choosing to learn how to write in a more engaging manner — or working on whatever weakness a rejection identifies — will help you to become more successful in the long run, by helping you adapt your writing style to different submission guidelines.
Improving on a weakness adds a skill to your repertoire and makes you a more versatile writer, which will open up new opportunities in the future.
In other words, rejection forces you to work on your weaknesses and grow as a writer.
Overcoming rejection can boost your self-confidence, both as a writer and in life.
When you accept an initial rejection, you can feel more confident, knowing that you will be able to handle this scenario in future.
Confidence can lead you down many paths to success. As a writer, you should be confident in your writing. You should also be confident that you can overcome rejection; that confidence will help you:
In short, overcoming rejection can make you more confident, both as a writer and as a person.
Where possible, make rejection part of your writing process. While it may be difficult to accept this idea at first, incorporating rejection into your process will help you in the long term.
When taking on a new client or writing that first novel, it’s very likely that the first draft will be rejected. In fact, it’s rare for a writer to capture the attention of a publisher with the first draft.
Regardless of how many writing projects you may have successfully completed, no two publishers are the same. Each publisher or content manager has a different vision and unique requirements for the content that they are looking to publish. If you understand this, rejection can come to be considered as part of your process.
Think of it as similar to a relationship. You don’t completely know the person right away. It takes time to get to know them.
In the same way, it may take a draft or two before you fully understand what your client wants.
You will experience increased success, both at getting your articles published, and in the way you feel as a whole, when you make rejection part of your writing process.
It’s time for you to start rejecting the world’s view of rejection.
In fact, if rejection terrifies you, then it’s time to start rejecting the way you view rejection.
With these key points in mind, you can really improve the way you view rejection and use it to improve your whole writing mindset. Are you ready to write again?
Sara is a passionate writer and advocate for donating stories to the less fortunate. She currently works for BookRazor and enjoys reading her favourite novels in her pass time. She has a loving and very supportive family and enjoys visiting book signing events whenever she can.