Writing Journey

The Art of Handling Rejection

I’ve ran two crowd-funding campaigns, pitched multiple books to publishers, and I’m now on a hunt for an agent. It’s safe to say, at this point of time, I’m immune to rejection. Really – it doesn’t elicit any response from me. In fact, it makes me happy – it’s a relief to encounter rejection. Because rejection is better than silence… and rejection means there’s one less reject in the duration of my quest. But, is there an art in handling rejection?

How does one define art – how does one grade the quality of art? Why are some pieces higher in value, while others are sold cheap in the market place? Why are splats of paint hanging in a gallery, while the strokes of a picturesque countryside are left in an attic? What determines art? Perspective – art is about perspective.

So back to the question: is there an art in handling rejection? Yes – perspective.

I like to look at rejection in the perspective of a job seeker. You see, when you’re looking for a job, you don’t expect a callback from every company you apply to. And for the few that invite you to an interview, there’s no guarantee they’d hire you. Even if you nail the tough questions, you might be rejected. Fortunately, you’re well aware of this. If you’re not, you’ll soon realise it’s reality – you’ll apply, you’ll receive a few calls, and you’ll be rejected. But, you’ll eventually find the one. And in the midst of the hunt – in need of survival – you have no time to think about your rejections. You move quickly to the next opportunity, because an opportunity matters more.

With this perspective, does a rejection really matter? Should you give it more than a second of your day? No, because there’s another opportunity waiting. And if you don’t seize that opportunity, you’ll never know if it’s the one.

Just like art, the art of handling rejection is about perspective. How much weight you give each ‘thanks, but no thanks’ is determined by its importance in your perception. If it is of little significance, you won’t be fazed. If you focus on the opportunities, you won’t linger in the past. So, how are you perceiving rejection? Are you giving it more time than you should? Are you letting it blear your future?

During both my crowd-funding campaigns, I was under 3 months of stress. I hustled everyone I knew. And the more I hustled, the more rejections I received. But despite being upset, I couldn’t dwell on each rejection. In order for The Battle for Oz and The Slave Prince to succeed, I needed to find someone who’d support me. I couldn’t waste time convincing those who wouldn’t, because I hadn’t convinced those who haven’t. Thankfully, despite rejection being a part of my journey, it didn’t change the fact that both my books were a success.

Having experienced waves of rejection, I know its value – it amounts to little when you’re desperate. It has no hold over your passion. And its presence will not affect the outcome. The only thing that rejection does is make you stronger – you’ll be bolder and more determined than before. And despite its negative connotation, experiencing it is a good thing.

Today, I embrace rejection. I’m unafraid of it’s daunting shadow, gladly welcoming it in my life. It has taught me to focus on my passion. It has made my dreams worth chasing. And the more opportunities I seek – the more rejections I face – the closer I’ll be to my goal. That’s my perception – my art… of handling rejection.

10 thoughts on “The Art of Handling Rejection”

  1. Very important information to think about. The end of my college career is coming up fast and I am starting to prepare for the job rejections.

    1. You’ll find the right one – don’t worry! I’m currently on a job hunt too. And I’m sure my next placement would be where I should be – I just need to be patient, while I seek out opportunities.

  2. It’s really great that you’re able to do that. I’ve actually been out of the agent hunting game for years due to what rejection did to my mental health. The qualities that let me craft particular types of characters and get into their heads is something I’d never trade, but the other side of that is hypersensitivity. I have the fear that there will never *not* be a next rejection.

    The time away from seeking representation hasn’t been idly spent thought. I’ve grown and maintained my blog. I’ve developed fresh insights on how I’ll market my novel. I’ve written fanfictions, planned other novels (and prepped to write one for NaNoWriMo), and learned a great deal from the bloggers I follow and my writer friend.

    I know when I wade back into the morass of agent hunting, I’m still going to deal with the same feelings around rejection. I think it’s processes differently on an individual basis, which certainly can include the number of times you deal with it. For some it builds up like a callous. For others it’s like constantly ripping open a wound.

    1. That’s true – we all process differently. But I do hope you build a callous, because I believe we’ll get there one there – where ever there is – if we keep persevering. Be bold and believe the time you spent developing your talent and skill will pay off.

    2. I don’t think I’ll ever become totally immune to it, but I have this drive and persistence that won’t let me give up even when/if I want to. I couldn’t be happy without writing. I tried to give up it at one point because all those rejections made me believe I was no good and had no business doing it. That was hell. I was miserable, so I know I *have* to write in order to be healthy. The blogging helps that a great deal, since running one requires an abundance of writing.

      Thanks for the encouragement!

    3. Well, if you ever feel like you have ‘no business doing it’ again, know that you have every right to keep pursuing it. You have an obvious passion, and no passion should be stifled.

      I really hope you find success one day – in one form or another. Until then, keep living off that awesome drive of yours 🙂

  3. Great words of advice! Especially since I’ve finished the second draft of my book and am nearing the stage where I send it out to receive a lot of rejections. 😀

    1. I know this sounds strange, but I found building a streak of agent rejections kind of fun. It’s like, “Reaching 100 rejects would be epic!” So have fun while you’re at it. Your journey has only just begun, and how you approach the first step determines how far you’ll go 🙂

    2. That’s a good way to go about it. If you’re going to get a bunch of rejections, you might as well have fun. 🙂

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