The word Rejection should be right up there with:
…and all the other four-letter words that make us feel bad
about ourselves. REJECTION SUCKS. There’s no other way to say it. I am a
writer, trying to get two novels published. Combined, my rejection letters
total way over a hundred, and that’s not even counting the non-responders where
silence in and of itself equals rejection.
Do I take it personally? Of course I do. I interpret the
rejections as: Your writing sucks! Your concept sucks! And by the way, you suck too!
I was also a commercial and theater actress for many years –
another profession not unlike publishing that vomits rejection. “Not young
enough, pretty enough, skinny enough…just not enough…
It takes a thick skin to deal with constant rejection. I
should have given up long ago. Anyone with self-esteem issues knows that these
two professions, writing and acting, will tear you up inside if you don’t have
an ounce of self-confidence.
And yet I persist with the writing thing. Granted, I’ve
tried to consider many, many other professions in the hope that one will club
me over the head and drag me onto the Stability bus I’ve been chasing and missing
for so many years.
Dental Hygienist — Hey, they make decent money. I roll it
around in my head, and try not to gag on the idea of what it would be like to
probe plaque-and disease-ridden mouths…
Medical Assistant — Now there’s a profession that’s always
in demand. Maybe I can ignore the fact that I’m not very nurturing, nor can I
stand bodily fluids or the thought of wiping a stranger’s ass…
Any 9-5 office job — So what if my varicose veins get worse
and my weight triples from sitting at a desk all day? And really, who needs to
see the light of day anyway?
“Think of your son and what you need to do to support him. Forget what you want to do.” I hear that a lot.
If I thought I could excel at anything else, or retain my sanity doing something else, I would run to it. I
wish I was able to keep a “normal” job like 98% of the population. The journey I’m supposed to be enjoying has
left me stressed-out, broke, and queasy from motion sickness.
Numerous actors have said they fell into acting simply
because they couldn’t stand the idea of doing anything else. Or weren’t capable
of doing anything else, for that matter. They had literally sucked at every job
When actors accept their Academy Awards, singers accept
their Grammys, or best-selling authors who, after 1000 rejections FINALLY get
published, they all say the same thing: “NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM.” It’s
easy to spit out “never give up” in hindsight, while you’re holding that shiny
statue, or signing a 3-book deal.
But how long does one stick it out to pursue the dream? How long does one pick half-eaten hot dogs
out of the trash, sleep on a futon, drive a 1986 car?
How many writers out there have received one rejection too
many, and have chosen to bow out gracefully because they’re tired of seeing
those form-letter words?
“Your work is not the right fit for us at this time…”
“Your project isn’t quite right for me…”
“Please know that this business is highly subjective…”
And yet, all it takes is a single yes from one
person and the dream will have come true. That is what keeps us going.