No other word in a writer’s vocabulary hurts as much. Go ahead. I’ll admit it if you will.
The other day I received news from my agent of a rejection on a manuscript of which I was very proud. And so it was apropos and timely that rejection would be the topic of this month’s column. After the obligatory chest beating and depression over the rejection, I began to ponder why that word hurts like hell.
First of all, rejection can be valuable. Too many rejections on one project, especially if those doing the rejection are saying the same thing, may tell you that a rewrite is in order. But I also decided that there might be other words worse than “rejection” to writers.
“Quit” is one of those worse words, especially when spurred on by the word “rejection.” Not writing anymore because a few people turned you down for publication is a great sin in my writer’s book. Don’t let anyone ever tell you are not good enough. You may not be great, but you can become better if you work at it. And somewhere, somehow you can be published, even if you do it yourself.
It is understandable if you are thrown into a funk at rejection, and I was for a few days. I began questioning myself. “I will never sell again,” I told myself in a whiny voice deep in my head. And that leads me to another worse word.
I remember I once had a job where a supervisor didn’t particularly like me, though I didn’t know why. Although I was a hard worker and did a good job, his dislike made me doubt myself. I went through tough times during that doubt phase, then I realized that I have to believe in me. I had to believe in what I was doing. I had to please myself first. Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t listen to criticism that would make me better, but I was not going to pay attention to the destructive doubters because as a writer we deal with self-doubt enough and don’t need any special help.
So back to rejection.
I’ll be honest, each time I do receive a rejection, I do want to quit writing and take up tatting or weaving and I do doubt myself. But I get over it and end up back at the computer. Because if I didn’t write, I would feel much, much worse.
So when it comes down to it, “rejection” is just a word. Erase it. Delete it. Replace it with “write.”
Monthly Archives: July 2008
Remembering Bill Studebaker
Several years ago, I took a writing course from Bill. He was intelligent, tough and made me try harder. I always remember him saying to try to do something toward your writing each day, even if it was something small and I’ve always tried to keep to that to varying degrees of success.
In that class he also encouraged students to form critique groups to review each other’s writing, and from there I met Bonnie Dodge, who was to become my very good friend and critique partner. For that I am truly grateful, that is that we connected because of Bill.
As a human being, we may all hope to have a place in the hearts of the people we loved when we pass on. As a writer, we may hope that our words will live on. For Bill, I believe that he accomplished both.
In that class, Bill said he did something that pertained to writing everyday, even if it was just lick a stamp. I keep that in mind and try to do something related to writing everyday, even if it is to just read a book.