Got a rejection today, and it sent me into a mild rage.
Pro tip: Don’t ask me to like your social media pages after you reject me.
In case you, dear phantom reader, think I’m thin-skinned and whiny– oh wait, that’s actually true. Regardless, my point is that I am no stranger to rejection. At the time of writing this post, I’ve accumulated 118 rejections from agents and publishers across multiple projects. You could say that’s still small potatoes. Some authors have accumulated 400 or 1,000 or more.
However, if people punch you in the gut 117 times, the 118th punch will still hurt because it’s a goddamn punch to the gut. Maybe it’s my fault for perceiving it as a punch to the gut, but it’s hard not to. I did research yet again on tips for handling rejection, but each post and video left me feeling the same. Perhaps you’re familiar with some of these strategies for “flipping the script”:
- Try to get as many rejections as possible in a year! It means you’re that much closer to a yes!
- Rebuttal: Does it, though? Shelving is a thing for a reason. And if I do eventually get a yes, do I want the yes to be from an online magazine made in Geocities twenty-five years ago or an agent who only communicates via carrier pigeon? I take that back. I’m on board with carrier pigeon communication.
- As bad as you feel now, imagine how good it will feel when you finally get that yes!
- Rebuttal: Do I really want to let other people have that much control over my happiness?
- Rejection means you’re not hiding. You’re putting yourself out there, which is a wonderful thing.
- Rebuttal: Is it, though? If people hate your yodeling-while-brewing-coffee performance art, should you maybe keep it to the comfort of your kitchen?
- It’s just one person’s opinion. This is a very subjective industry.
- Rebuttal: No, it’s 118 people’s opinions.
- Don’t take it so hard. It’s not personal.
- Rebuttal: Isn’t it, though? The industry encourages you to bleed out onto the page to ensure compelling writing, but then holds your own feelings against you.
- This industry is hell, so you better grow a thick skin and get over it already.
- Rebuttal: I can either continue to feel and be creative. Or, I can bottle up my emotions and pretend I don’t care about failure. I cannot do both.
- In Silicon Valley, their policy is to keep failing until you succeed. Giving up is what makes you a true failure.
- Rebuttal: Are the people holding your privacy and data by the nut sack really the people you want to take creative advice from?
- You’re being bitter. That’s not a good look.
- Rebuttal: Fake smiles are an even worse look for me.
The best I can do right now to handle rejection is acknowledge, process, and put it to bed. Goodnight, #118.
I’ve started taking slow-motion videos of the snow here in Chicago. They’re wildly soothing to watch, so that might become the only content I ever post on social media. (Sorry, Meghan.)
I call them…sno-mo.
The only thing slo-mo should be used for is sno-mo. If you have sno-mos, I want to see them all pic.twitter.com/cD1N4VqpIK
— Nathalie Lawrence (@NatQLawrence) February 22, 2021
Note: I moved the video to a different platform, thus the later timestamp.