Coping with Rejection

Yesterday one of my critique partners received her first rejection letter. Rejection. Such a nasty little word. There’s nothing about it that evokes good feelings and it just seems that someone could have come up with a better term. Like a “No, thank you” letter or perhaps a “not at this time” letter. But rejection? That just doesn’t make anyone feel good.

And there’s no possible way not to take it personally. Even though most editors and agents are careful about their language and say things like, “I’ll pass on this project” it still feels like they’re saying “You are a moron. What makes you think you can write?!”

I got five rejections this month. Five of them! I have a ritual when I receive rejections. First I’m moderately shocked (in most cases). I mean how could they have not loved my submission? Then I try to look at the letter objectively and I search for any little detail that might clue me in on what didn’t work for them. Sometimes this works, but sometimes I’m at a complete loss. This is when I move into the next stage – I make excuses. I come up with some doozies to make myself feel better as to why they didn’t care for my wonderfully charming, not to mention, well-written masterpiece.

For example, I’m pretty sure that my most recent rejection was spurred on simply because the editor’s last boyfriend (who must have been evil, by the way) shared his name with my hero and she just couldn’t get past it. She didn’t say anything about my hero, in fact she didn’t say much, other than a couple of compliments which left me scratching my head. One unfortunate agent must have had a really nasty past life in the 1870′s and that explains her aversion to my story. And the rest of those people just didn’t read the dang thing.

Obviously I’ve got my tongue firmly in my cheek, but my point is that we do what we can to cope with the disappointment and pain of rejections. The bottom line is, I take their suggestions when they give them, I go with my gut when it comes to making changes and I keep putting myself out there. Because someday my wonderfully charming and well-written masterpiece will make its way across the right desk at the right time and all the right ingredients will be there simply because I didn’t give up.

Robyn Ratliff has been a member of RWA since 1996. She currently serves as President and Webmaster to her RWA Chapter, San Antonio Romance Authors. She writes historicals set in Victorian England and is currently dividing her time between writing her next book and Agent Quest.

Copyright © 2007. Robyn DeHart. All Rights Reserved.

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