Rejection Revisited (Part 1)

Is it true you learn more from your failures than your successes?

What can we learn from difficult times?

Can rejection solidify your commitment to your goals?

Everyone identifies with failure, hard times, and rejection. I may have inherently realized how tangible they are, but I understood it more when I wrote about rejection last year in a post titled, “Receiving and Rising above Rejection.” That post was shared, re-blogged, and linked to, more than any other post I’ve done. It also received first-rate feedback. Folks who weren’t even writers responded.Writing - hand blast past

So, I thought it would be a worthwhile topic to revisit. Now, it isn’t as exciting as writing about creativity. Honestly, it isn’t even as enjoyable as watching paint dry. For that reason I enlisted the help of four other writers. I asked if they’d like to contribute their thoughts about rejection and rising above. Surprisingly, they were enthusiastic.

You’ll meet two in this post. And next Saturday in the second part, you’ll meet the other two. I gave each writer a different angle to think about. Each one also has a unique personality and background.

First up is Erica Hayes. She’s a professional copywriter who’s been putting words to work for more than 10 years.

She says, “When I’m not writing, I’m probably reading, drawing, watching cheesy TV or hitting out-of-bounds on the golf course. I originally hail from Houston but now live outside Seattle.”

I asked Erica,

“As a freelance writer what specific ways do you have to handle rejection?

How did you rise above it?

Is it easier now than in the beginning?”

“Keep a running list of professional accomplishments. When you need to, read it from start to finish and remind yourself that you can do this — there’s the proof.

Set a timer and get your frustration out (constructively). Write about it. Fuss about it. Go for a walk and fume about it. Learn what you can but once that timer goes off, be done being sad about it.

Most importantly, always be looking for your next opportunity.

What makes rejection so difficult is all the hope we pin on each gig. When we hear ‘no,’ we grieve more than just the lost opportunity; we grieve the ‘could have been’ that went with it.

Keeping other pans in the fire keeps you hopeful and takes the edge off that one loss.

Now, rejection can wear on you over time. Once in a while, you’ll ask yourself “what’s the point?” Change that to “what’s my alternative?” Because unless you’re willing to give up — once and for all — you’ll see that wallowing is not an option. You have to put it behind you.

Does rejection get easier? Not necessarily. Some are easier, some are harder. Your perspective may change, but each rejection is a loss.

The advantage is that you learn how to move through the process faster and take care of yourself better the more often you have to do it.”

Thank you for your encouraging insight Erica. You hit on one thing I often tell people too. That is, to keep several projects going at one time, because then you’re not pinning your hopes all on one thing. If you get a rejection, you know you still have other pieces in the pipeline.

Erica’s copywriter blog is both educational and entertaining. To find out why her blog is named Rubber Ducky Copywriter, visit her link at the bottom of the post.

Next, I’d also like to introduce you to Deanne Schultz. She’s a freelance writer who has written hundreds of stories for a local newspaper and Writing - Newspapersmagazine.

She says, “I’m currently working on The Green Hornet Suit and Other Musings, a book that takes a wry look at life as I see it. My hope is that my writing inspires and helps others, moving them to connect with those around them.”

I asked Deanne,

“Especially in the beginning, it’s hard for some writers to send out their work because they can’t get past the fear of rejection.

Did you ever feel that way?

If so, how did you learn to feel the fear, but do it anyway?

If not, why do you think you didn’t?”

“Sure, I’ve struggled with the fear of rejection, convinced that other writers had more scintillating ideas that would be snapped up by any editor worth his salt. I constructed an imaginary fence of “can’ts” around myself, and whenever I neglected an opportunity to submit my work, it felt like little teeth eroding my self-confidence a little more.

What got me past my fear was excavating its roots. Fear generally makes you feel smaller and less effective. What do you fear? Ridicule? Success? Really, what’s the worst that can happen?

Share these fears with someone who can talk you through them. Naming your fear aloud eliminates its power, and action is its antidote.

To move forward, I called the editor of our local paper with my ideas. He was intimidating, rapid-firing questions so fast my head spun. He didn’t take my first idea, or my second, but somewhere down the line, he did accept one and I’ve written hundreds of stories for him since.Writing Rejection Revisited quote

That taught me to be prepared when I approach a new editor. Yes, I still feel fear’s claws dragging me back, whispering that deep down; it doesn’t think my writing is good enough. Life is short, so before another minute slips away, another day or week, go for it – it isn’t half as bad as what you fear it will be.”

Are you fired up yet? I’m always encouraged by hearing other people’s “behind the scenes” stories. It’s good to know that the fear doesn’t necessarily go away. You simply learn to tame it and even let it spur you on. Thank you both for the time and effort that you put into your contributions.

If you enjoyed this and want to leave a comment for Erica, Deanne, or myself, please do. We like to hear your contributions too. Don’t forget we’ll have Part 2 in one week featuring Jillian Lisa Pearl and KL Wagoner.

Learn about more about Deanne Schultz and The Green Hornet Suit and Other Musings.

Read more about Erica’s alias the Rubber Ducky Copywriter.

Share the knowledge.
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8 comments on “Rejection Revisited (Part 1)
  1. Julie Luek says:

    Peter, this is great advice about rejection. I just read a story about a woman at a conference who was given an award for the most published pieces. The next award handed out was for the most rejections. Guess what? She won that one too. I think there’s a lot of truth in this story.

  2. Willi says:

    Thank you for writing this. Even with all the years of education, training and experience, rejection is still so very hard. I actually have yet to go back and talk to a blogger, because her rejection was so harsh, but that was early on in this journey I re- re- started a couple of years ago.

    • Hi Willi, I’m especially glad to know this encouraged you. The quick points in the orginal post from a year ago all had to do with writing rejections, but people still resonated with it. Don’t miss part 2. It’s going to be encouraging and informative too.

  3. Rejection certainly is painful, but we should turn it into a challenge to better our works…

    thanks for the fantasting post Peter.

  4. Cate Macabe says:

    Great advice to move forward and not dwell on the rejection or the fear of it. Thank you Erica and Deanne!

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