I Reject!

We all hate rejection. I’ve always felt I was even more rejection-averse than most people. I’ve felt like I’ve had full-out rejection phobia. It kept me from dating a lot. It kept me from pursuing more aggressive career goals. It’s kept me from entering contests. You get the picture.

Now that I’ve left the cushy world of paycheck-every-other-week corporate life and entered the cut-throat world of commercial publishing, I find myself eating rejection for breakfast. It comes in different forms: rejected proposals, poor reviews, few web hits, fewer sales. Each one of these still stabs me in the gut.

The good news is, I think I’m finally getting used to it. I’m getting better at not letting it affect me. You get rejected enough this will happen, I promise you.

If anything, each rejection becomes fuel to improve. If enough agents won’t represent you, there’s a reason. If someone doesn’t like your book, they’re entitled. If you still want to do this, try harder. You can learn lessons trying to reinvent yourself at 60.

You can also just say, “What the fuck?” like in Risky Business, and really mean it. The world isn’t fair so don’t take it personally. If you not only wear your thoughts on your sleeve but decide you want to share them with the world, be ready for the backlash.

The alternative is to live in a shell. Tempting. But I’m not there yet.