I’ve been writing for about a year now, with the majority of pieces created within the past six months. I’ve had a few successes. I’ll have a piece published in a well known book series this fall. I’ve had a few pieces published online. I’m working toward a longer novel length piece currently and have been accepted to a workshop run by a well known published author.
The successes have felt amazing. They have bolstered my confidence and propelled me to continue creating and sharing. It feels fabulous to share these wins. We all like to be seen in the best light, to point to our accomplishments and say we matter, to believe we are worthy of praise.
For every acceptance however, there are many more rejections. They don’t feel great. Rejection steals our belief in ourselves.
We are taught early on to only show our best selves and to hide the rest away. On social media we share the greatest of the highlights. There is rarely a mention of the day gone wrong, the loss of a dream or the failure of effort.
Recently I received a rejection for a piece of fiction I submitted to a literary journal. My initial reaction was both disappointment and doubt in my skills. If this short piece wasn’t good enough to be selected what business did I have trying my hand at an entire novel? I should just give up now before I put more time and effort into my writing. If the piece had been on paper instead of on my hard drive I would have torn it up and tossed it out.
But then I went back and saw there was a note attached to my rejection. One of the editors had taken the time to respond to my piece. She provided both what she enjoyed about the story as well as constructive suggestions for improvement. The feedback was thoughtful, specific and helpful. She also included options for resubmission once I reworked the piece.
I could see the value in everything she said. Instead of wallowing in self deprecation I now felt encouraged by her words. I sat with the suggestions for a while and realized that this rejection was actually an opportunity to grow and learn as a writer and I should take it. Already it has given me the inspiration for this piece.
The rejection of my story was not the end. Instead, it could be a beginning.
So cheers to rejection and failure. Here’s to those willing to immerse themselves in a growth mindset. A toast to those turning disappointment into drive.
Let’s not be afraid to share our rejections and disappointments.
I’ll go first.