Ahhhh rejection, I know you well. We have been close friends for many years now. It’s only in recent times, however, that I’ve learned to stop taking it personally when my ideas are met with a rebuff, or, worse, no response at all.
One of the lovely bloggers in my Aussie Parenting Bloggers Facebook group recently posted that she was feeling down after being rejected a lot, and it made my heart hurt for her. Rejection sucks! It really does. Particularly for a creative person like a writer, when what you’re pitching is really yourself and ideas. Rejection can feel like a stab through the heart – it’s sending a message that you and your words are not good enough.
After a few emails that all have the same generic Dear John “thanks but no thanks” reply to requests for freelance assignments, it’s hard to keep self confidence up.
Maintaining confidence is one of the hardest things about being a freelance anything. Self belief in the face of constantly being told “no, you’re not right for us”. Ouch. It hurts.
I’ve been writing as a freelancer now for about three years. I’ve had more rejection emails than I can count – and I’ve lost track of the number of inquiries I’ve put out there that haven’t been responded to.
I want every other writer just starting out to know that you are not alone. We all face rejection (I get rejected daily. Honestly.).
Each rejection is one step closer to an acceptance. You have to keep trying and putting yourself out there and, as hard as it is, not take rejection personally.
When you get a rejection email (or worse, no response), repeat to yourself, “It’s not about me”. Because it’s not about you. Whatever you were pitching wasn’t a good fit for the publication or the editor was too busy to respond. Neither of these mean that the quality of your ideas or words isn’t good enough to be published.
Everyone who has made anything of themselves has faced similar rejection at some stage. The wonderful children’s author Mem Fox told me in an interview last year that her famous book, Possum Magic, was rejected by published 10 TIMES before it was accepted and published. Just let that sink in.
If Mem had given up after the first few rejections we would not have one of the most famous Australian children’s books ever written.
The next time you get a rejection, remember it’s not you, it’s them. Remember Mem Fox, and have the courage to keep on trying.
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!