The longer you live, the more rejection you are faced with. It’s as natural a part of life as breathing. As a writer, you put yourself in a position to face more rejection than the average person (actors probably have a leg up on writers, though, in the rejection department). How you handle that part of the process is key to your success. If you give up too quickly, you’ll never get where you want to go. If you take it personally, you’ll wind up angry and resentful. But if you use it to make your writing better, and take the feedback that rejections sometimes offer and revise your work to make it the best it can be, then you’re really getting somewhere that could wind up being great. Perhaps not necessarily what you originally envisioned, but even better than that.
I enjoyed reading this recent article from writersdigest.com about Aminta Arrington’s winding road to publication. She describes the various agents with whom she corresponded and how their feedback shaped and changed the book she wound up writing and selling to a publisher. While not all agents or editors can offer the type of constructive feedback it sounds like she received, there are certainly other places to go to get feedback on your book, whether it’s from teachers, beta readers, writers’ groups, or your most insightful friends and family. Taking the idea of rejection and spinning it into a chance for growth and introspection is a worthwhile concept.
And it got me to wondering about our own blog readers and their experiences with the positive power of rejection. I’d love to hear your stories of how a rejection shaped your work in a positive (or negative – sometimes enough rejection can get you thinking about a new project instead of staying stuck on an old one that isn’t working) way. And it doesn’t have to be agent or publisher rejection. Maybe it’s a friend who told you they didn’t like something you’d written, or a teacher who gave you a grade lower than you thought you deserved until you heard his or her explanation and realized maybe it really wasn’t your best work. Please share your positive rejection stories and then we can all work on trying to remember to see the glass half full approach to rejection from now on.