June 9, 2021– I hope you love this month’s theme, which is author mindset! Let’s dig into a topic today that is the bane of many authors’ existence-rejection and the fear of it.
Rejection is part of life, and the sooner we accept that as authors, the better. Every rejection gets us one step closer to getting a YES! Think of some of the greatest people in history; they were rejected time and again but refused to give up, and most importantly, their mindset remained positive.
Fearing rejection is like waiting for the axe to fall; it gives us a deep sense of dread in the pit of our stomachs and paralyzes us instead of pushing us forward despite it. Things like fears of people not liking our work, or worse, ridiculing it, the fear of being “found out” (see my blog post on imposter syndrome), fear of being vulnerable in that once the words are on the page, they can never be taken back, and the fear of being not good enough.
Rejection is an opportunity! Look at Tom Edison and his perseverance in the face of MASSIVE rejection.
Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”-(uky.edu) Wow! If we authors could only have that outlook, our writing lives would change completely!
Some of the most famous and prolific authors were rejected hundreds of times collectively-Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Agatha Christie, Louisa May Alcott, Dr. Seuss, James Patterson, and John Grisham. And they persisted. I don’t know about you, but when I look at the list above, it looks like every single author who made it big got rejected tons of times. That’s good news for the rest of us!
What happens when you embrace rejection? Lots of wonderful things:
- You become untouchable. When you embrace rejection, a cool thing happens-you’re not emotionally affected by people’s opinions, words, or made-up situations in your mind. You’re free! The value that you place on yourself and your work is higher than what anyone else may think of you, and that is where your power lies!
- You get closer. When you embrace rejection, you get one step closer to your goal. Remember the Edison example? Here’s another one-Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected 144 times; what if they had given up after 143 times? The point is every time you hear NO as an author, it helps you get to the 1 YES that you need faster. Get the no’s out of the way before you hear the YES!
- You grow. As a publisher, I have a rule. I never reject an author’s work without telling them why. I figure that they’re brave enough to send in their work and ask me to look at it that the least I can do is give them more than a form rejection letter. When I first started writing, I had enough rejection slips to wallpaper the side of my house! But I revelled in the advice written on a few of them and took that advice to grow my skills as a writer and be better every day.
I urge you to look at rejection through a different lens; it’s just part of the process, it’s not personal, and what is supposed to be yours is waiting for you on the other side of fear and rejection!