When you have the rejection blues, it's important to wallow
in the right type of reading. The key is frivolity. Pick something
that's going to comfort you, not make you feel worse. Maybe you need
a trashy romance. Maybe you prefer perusing something from your
childhood. Maybe you need the latest best seller -- in hardcover.
Maybe you need an issue of Cosmo and a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
Below are two of my favorites indulgences when I'm suffering from
"The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint Exupery. This is my
bedside companion. It's a children's book filled with endless wisdom
for us adults. It's gotten me through good times and bad --
including more than one broken heart.
"The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold. This is a new book (only a
few years old). But whenever I need to remind myself why I want to
write, I simply read the first chapter of this book (and usually get
sucked into reading the whole thing). One reviewer said that
Sebold's opening paragraph was one of the best ever written. I have
to agree. Writing like hers makes me want to get back in front of my
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Maybe you didn't get that grant you spent endless hours
researching and writing for your nonprofit. Maybe your 15-page
proposal didn't land you your dream client. Maybe you got a
lousy grade on a paper that you poured your heart and soul
into. Maybe you received three "form" rejection letters within
a 24-hour period (yes, that's happened to me). No matter what
the scenario is, one thing is clear: rejection is never easy.
So what's a person to do? As we all know, rejection is a
part of life. Unfortunately, it can be a BIG part of a
writer's life. But you CAN get through it -- and even learn
from it. Follow my five survival tips and rest easier the next
time someone says, "Thanks, but no thanks."
Feel the Rejection|
||It's okay to feel the pain. Actually, it's important
that you allow yourself to feel and to grieve. But don't
dwell. Instead, take a break. Eat ice cream. Go to a movie.
Buy a new outfit. Clean the toilet. Do anything that doesn't
involve the written word. Did I mention eating ice cream?
Resubmit and Try Again|
||If you're a freelancer, resubmit your query to another
publication. If you're a student, read your instructor's
comments -- ask questions about what you don't understand and
make notes about the mistakes to avoid in the future. If
you're a grant writer, marketing writer, or business writer,
see if you can talk with the decision maker who rejected your
piece. Be courteous, be respectful and simply ask what didn't
Take a Class or Workshop|
||It never hurts to polish your skills. And perhaps a
workshop, seminar, or course in your respective writing field
will help you figure out that extra special something to make
your work sparkle. If you're a grant writer, consider taking
an audio conference (try www.quinlan.com). If you're a
freelancer, try taking a writing "boot camp"
(www.mediabistro.com). If you're a business writer, look into
local colleges and chambers of commerce.
Get a Second Opinion|
||Maybe it's not you or your writing -- maybe your piece
just landed in the wrong hands. Teachers, editors, and clients
have bad days, too. Ask someone you trust (and someone who
understands a thing or two about writing) to read your work.
See what he or she has to say.
Write Something Else|
||The best way to move on is by moving on. Start a new
query letter. Tackle your next writing assignment. Work on a
different grant. Pitch another client. And don't ever give up.