How Do You Handle Rejection?

It’s the evening after #PitMad and as usually goes, rejection haunts me.

You’d think I would be used to it by now. The trademark of being a writer is rejection. While there are always the lucky few who make their break early and fast, the majority of us writers slog through a plethora of rejections before finally getting that coveted book deal, agent, or movie deal.

And yet, it still hurts to refine your pitches, touch up your query letter and apply for yet another program or pitch your manuscript on Twitter—all for nothing. That empty inbox, that polite rejection email, the lack of likes on your PitMad tweets, staring back at you like an empty bag of chocolate.

Today, I was sitting at a café feeling sorry for myself and the rejections I’ve faced as a writer when a man selling home-made bracelets came by my table. This is quite common in Mexico City (my temporary home). People stop by selling candy, blankets, honey, belts, one man even played a large leaf in a musical tune for money.

It happens any time you’re at an outdoor café. People are constantly trying to sell you things. And continuously, I turn them down. It’s not that I don’t admire the colorful bracelets, fine woven blankets, or home-made candy. They’re just not my style or taste. They’re just not something I’m looking to buy right now.

Often, rejection in the writing world feels deeply personally. We’re releasing our babies into the world only to watch them get trampled. But I’ve heard time and again that finding success in the publishing world is subjective.

It’s all about the right story, at the right time, to the right agent/program. I might have the next best seller on my hands but if the sci-fi market is over saturated, most agents won’t give my book a second glance. Or I could have a book that’s in the selling genre but the agents I query already have too much on their plates to accept anything new.

It’s all subjective. It’s not personal.

I watched as the man selling the bracelet went from one café to another being rejected over and over again by people uninterested in his wares. These Artisans face rejection daily, hourly. And yet, they keep at it—undeterred.

Their drive and hustle in the face of outright rejection inspires me.

If they can do it, I can stay positive and keep on keeping on no matter how many rejections I face. One day, I’ll finally get a yes and it will be so much sweeter after the countless nos. In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate each rejection. I’m going to see it as one step closer to that yes.

What do you do to stay positive in the face of rejection?

Candace signing off to keep writing and editing until she gets that yes.  

2 thoughts on “How Do You Handle Rejection?

  1. Well said, and I feel your pain. Like you, I have to remind myself that it’s all subjective, and finding a home for a 100,000 word book with 140 characters is just dang hard!

    I always remember that the people (friends, family) that I do share my work with are so supportive and love my work. More importantly, I love my work! Just by getting out there you (we) are doing something 99% of the world wishes they were doing, but aren’t. “Don’t boo yourself off the stage before you have a chance to sing your song.” I (and I’m sure you feel the same) always remember that no matter how many rejections I get, I’ll still keep going, and eventually I’ll succeed. Each book, chapter, and sentence keep getting better, so how could I not?


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