A fellow blogger, Charlie Britten, recently posted on her blog Write On about the anguish of having two stories rejected within a twenty-four hour period and the subsequent effect on her morale. I was experiencing my own form of ‘rejection’ in the guise of unsuccessful competition entries, of which there were again two, and both announced within a twenty-four hour period. (I thought things were supposed to come in threes? Does that mean there’s another one yet to reveal itself?)
One of the downsides of being a writer is having to cope with rejection, and knowing that no matter how successful you are it will always be lurking, ready to rear its ugly head, and crush any ego you had the audacity to develop.
This got me thinking about the whole concept of rejection. Rejection is a part of life, like getting fatter, and losing one’s hair, or gaining it in inappropriate places. It establishes key points along the learning curve of our development. From early childhood, we discover the pain of rejection be it by the exclusion from the school netball team, or being alienated by ‘so-called’ friends in the playground. This may progress to a refusal from the university of your choice, or manifest as an unsuccessful job application. And we all know the pain of a broken heart after being rejected by an erstwhile lover.
But rejection in small things forms an important part of our maturation allowing us to develop coping strategies for the more difficult aspects of life, like serious illness, loss of a loved one and facing up to one’s own mortality. The pain is always the same, no matter what the circumstances, but lessens with time – a little like childbirth – and once you’ve picked yourself up and dusted yourself off, you know you have the capabilities to start all over again. The experience will make you more determined to succeed and survive, and will also help fortify you, ready for the next rejection, which is guaranteed to come. Be assured though that if the laws of probability are anything to go by, the downs should eventually be accompanied by the ups.
So the next time the written piece of work you have laboured over, and lovingly nurtured, is thrown into the reject pile, try to think of it as nothing more than a precursor to the success that, by the natural order of things, is sure to come. Good luck!
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