As a writer, I know about rejection and disappointment.
I’ve had people reject my novel, my blog topics, my ideas, photo choices and in some cases, even my dream. When combined with self-doubt, rejection can be crushing.
A failure can bring the momentum you’ve built to a standstill.
15 years ago …
When I was a teenager, I submitted my novels to publishers and agents, titles like Emma’s Sorrow, Enduring Love and the sequel, Perfect Love. I know now my work wasn’t ready, which is why it’s no surprise they were all rejected. For a while, I stopped writing novels.
On the bright side, I feel those early rejections prepared me for those I face as an adult. I am not afraid of rejection, because I know I will always hold onto these words:
Remember your dream.
Maybe you have a dream that seems impossible, like publishing a novel, quitting your day job or opening your own business. Maybe getting out of debt when your family’s income continues to plummet feels more and more like a fantasy. We all have days like that. Today, I wanted to share some methods I use personally to keep smiling through rejection and disappointment.
My file of 15-year-old rejection letters is very motivating. When I look at it, I realize how far I’ve come, both as a writer and as a person. I haven’t sold my novel yet, but I did enjoy my career as an editor and columnist. I loved writing and revising my novel, and I’m excited for everything I’ll learn in the future.
- Your turn: What are the small victories you’ve experienced on the road to achieving your dream?
Use the power of rejection for good.
Author Pat Schmatz said she used the following mantra each time her manuscript was rejected:
“Thank you for rejecting my unfinished story.”
Accept criticism with grace. Rejection can be a clue that something you’re doing isn’t working. Use that clue to make your work – or method or budget – better.
- Try it: Next time you’re feeling rejected or lost, go online to learn something new. For instance, I started this YouTube series on plot the day an agent rejected my novel. I was disappointed by the agent’s response, but knew I had to get back to work right away.
Believe in determination.
And if your friends make fun of you for chasing your dream, remember – just lie. – Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help
The Chicken Soup for the Soul series? Rejected 140 times. Best-selling novel The Help? Rejected 60 times. (Click here for Kathryn Stockett’s hilarious article.) It may sound like a cliche, but I believe determination is the key to success. Our dreams are not impossible until we believe they are.
When you are rejected or fail, pick yourself up with a smile. Lao-Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” We can take one more. There will be disappointments, but maybe someday, like the authors above, our stories of rejection and failure will give others hope.
Photo by Helga Weber
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You can read more about how Melissa simplified her life to do what she loves in The Hybrid Homemaker: A guide to personal and financial freedom.