Rejected!

June 4, 2014


My favorite post of all time on rejection is this one by Chuck Wendig called "25 Things Writers Should Know About Rejection."  In it, Mr. Wendig offers useful reminders like
Every writer, from the tippity-top of the industry to its sludge-slick nadir, has experienced rejection. Every book, movie, or story you love? It’s been rejected. Probably not once. But dozens, maybe even hundreds of times. It’s part of the writer’s career tapestry, part of our blood and genetic memory. Rejection is part of who we are as creative beings. Might as well commiserate.
 Here's my favorite idea.
Rejections toughen you up. Step to it. Suck it up. Lean into the punch. We all get knocked down. This is your chance to get back up again with your rolled-up manuscript in your hand and start swinging like a ninja.
If I had worked a call center or in door-to-door sales, or if I were a pickup artist like the relentless men in Nick Strauss' The Game, I might be better equipped for the no's that come to my mailbox.  But I am getting better at handling rejection.  I suppose like everything, this comes with (sigh) practice. 

In this Psychology Today article, Guy Winch discusses the ways that rejection damages our psychological and emotional well-being.  First of all, our bodies react to rejection the same way we'd react to a physical blow like a sucker punch.  Oddly enough,
Tylenol reduces the emotional pain rejection elicits. To test the hypothesis that rejection mimics physical pain, scientists gave some people Tylenol (acetaminophen) before asking them to recall a painful rejection experience. Participants who received Tylenol reported significantly less emotional pain than subjects who received a sugar pill.
I've always wanted to work as a writer.  I love to read and write, but being part of a group of professional writers?  How could I possibly be worthy of that?  Rejection eats away that this particular fear of mine.  Winch writes,
Rejection destabilizes our ‘Need to Belong’. We all have a fundamental need to belong to a group (or tribe). When we get rejected, this need becomes destabilized and the disconnection we feel adds to our emotional pain. Reconnecting with those who love us, reaching out to members of groups to which we feel strong affinity and who value us and accept us, has been found to soothe emotional pain after a rejection.
So...Tylenol and hanging out with a group of friends.  Sounds pretty good to me.  And after that?  More writing.  Whew.