July 17, 2012 Leave a comment
Rejection is a terrible thing. Nobody wants or likes it. It feels awful, and it’s very easy for the self-esteem to take a battering because of it. Yet authors put themselves out there repeatedly, knowing that rejection is inevitable. It’s rare that a first time author has a manuscript accepted and published on their first submission.
Every author needs to find a way to make rejection an accepted part of their journey to publication, without allowing it to impact on their sense of self. I wonder how many manuscripts we would never have seen had their authors not been able to move beyond the initial sting of rejection.
Creativity is inherently personal, irrespective of the medium. Visual artists, musicians, composers, creative writers, sculptors, singers, poets, etc, all draw upon the very essence of their being to interpret the world around them. They use all their senses to embed an essential part of themselves into their work for the pleasure of others. Of course it’s personal.
And when that letter comes saying: ‘sorry, your work doesn’t suit us because…,’ it is difficult not to feel affronted and affected.
Stephen King in his book On Writing talks about the thirty rejection letters he received for his first novel Carrie, and how he kept a ‘rejection board’ near his desk where he hung his collection of rejection slips.
There’s a lot to be said for this approach to writing (once you move past the urge to shred your manuscript or slap the rejecting publisher). It’s about building resilience. Each one of those slips means you are serious about being published, and with each slip you draw one step closer. The slips mean you have entered the industry and you will be marked and scarred like authors before you and authors yet to come.
The trick is not to allow the marks and scars to overwhelm you. Writing is a very subjective thing. What is appealing or ‘suitable for our list’ will vary greatly from one publisher to another, one reader to another.