I’m not delusional, I know that nobody likes to be rejected. I can’t imagine there’s someone walking this planet who thinks: I’d really love to be rejected right about now.
I do think that some of us are better at handling rejection than others. P.S. I’m part of the “others.”
The fear has been around as long as I can remember. I played along in bad friendships in order to avoid the icky feeling. I didn’t rock the boat at work in order to not experience that pit in my stomach. I held off on submitting my book to agents because it was just an open invitation for the anxiety inducing probability of NO.
I know why I have the fear but just because I can identify the cause, it doesn’t make it automatically go away. I have to consciously work through it.
What does this look like? Finally getting my book out there.On January 1st, I sent out query letters and a select number of chapters to 33 agents. That’s 33 opportunities to be rejected.
I received my first response a week later, it basically said: Thanks, but no thanks.
The moment I had been dreading finally arrived and I was…surprisingly upbeat about it. Giddy even. I took a screenshot and sent it to my husband who was just as excited.
Sure, they didn’t want anything to do with my book but at least I heard back and it was proof that I did this thing and put it out there and that in itself is a victory.
After the first email, I received a handful more…all were rejections. They became less and less exciting but they still didn’t hurt.
Was I over my fear of rejection?
A couple of weeks ago, I received a response that I didn’t expect: We’re interested. Please send us 50 additional pages.
I cried. And cried. And cried some more. Happy tears. “OMG I did it” tears.
Off went the 50 pages and for a moment I allowed myself to imagine what it would be like to get that email: WE WANT YOU.
I kept the news to myself for about a week and then I decided to share it with a small group of people, all of whom were extremely excited for me.
The next day I was (finally) feeling inspired and penned a blog post about wanting to quit writing but being unable to because it’s truly a part of me. As soon as I finished writing it, feeling pretty good about myself, I heard back from the agent that obviously was super into my book and needed to sign me immediately: Thanks but no thanks.
I cried. And cried. And cried some more. Sad tears. “OMG I suck” tears.
Rejection still hurt.
Instead of staying in my puddle of tears I put fingers to keyboard and began writing. I submitted a piece to a website and I knocked out a couple more blog posts. Rejection wasn’t going to stop me from writing.
The next day, I was starting to feel confident again until my inbox betrayed me:
Three rejections (including the article I submitted the day before) all within 15 minutes.
SO MUCH REJECTION, SO LITTLE TIME.
I laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more.
The consecutive emails were a great reminder that rejection will happen and it’s a part of life. Sometimes it’ll matter to you so much that it breaks you a little, sometimes you won’t care. Either way, it’s a part of life and it isn’t anything to be scared of. Learn from it, take a moment to mourn, and move on.
You can’t be rejected if you never take a chance.
I’m learning that I’d much rather take a chance and risk rejection than to be plagued with the possibility of “what if.”