Monday, December 21, 2009

On a winter morning

Why writers take rejection so personally

I'm a lot better with rejections than I used to be. Honestly. I used to moan for days, stop whatever I was doing for a big chunk of time and constantly ask my husband, "Why me?"

But I've been in this writing thing long enough to know that it's not me. Oh, it may be me but it's not just me. It happens to everyone - and I do mean everyone. I know lots and lots of writers who go through the same thing. And these are writers whom I consider successful.

Even though I know this, rejection is still painful. It still stings to hear "no" or to read a negative review. It still sucks when something you believe in doesn't sell. And even though I'm better than I used to be, I still take it personally. I try to "be professional," approach my writing like a business, but when editors or agents write rejections that include the word "love," how can you be totally objective?

A common rejection from an editor or agent will be that he or she "didn't fall in love" with the material. Of course you want to elicit emotion from a reader when you write a book but what do you do when you hear that the person who is in a position to buy or represent your work says they didn't "love" it? When you go on a job interview and don't get the job, does the HR person tell you they "didn't fall in love with you"?

It's hard to overcome those words. They haunt every writer who receives a rejection.

Didn't fall in love with it.

Of course we take it personally. Love is a very personal thing.