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Rejection: not just a writer thing

When people ask me about the writing process, it seems most know one fact without having to be told: there is a lot of rejection. In fact, I read a lot of blogs and words of encouragement related to this topic. It used to be rejections specifically from agents and editors. Then it became rejections from small publishing houses that didn’t require an agent. Now, with independent authors, rejection can come straight from the readers in the form of one or two stars. I would caution anyone reviewing works online. I always think before giving even a two star. Authors are still people and still tried their best work. I’m not saying two stars are not valid at times, but explanations would help.

Anyway, when I first entered adulthood, I thought that rejection was exclusively a “writer” thing. It’s true writer’s tend to put themselves out more than others. In fact, at times I question why I write. I am literally volunteering to put myself on a shelf to be criticized. Some of the criticism is practical. Others simply amount to it wasn’t that person’s interest, which isn’t really something I can control. However, I have started to realize that rejection really isn’t a “writer” thing. I have been rejected for jobs, scholarships and competitions. Granted, most of those were writing related, but I know many kids leaving high school who have been rejected for things related to their field of study. I was trying to get into a “writing workshop” when I was younger. It was a camp, so-to-speak, for writers. I started wondering if others try to compete for similar types of “camps.” We can even be rejected by people on a personal level. Rejection is, in many ways, a part of everyone’s life.

Regardless of the type of rejection, I immediately think about what decisions need to be made. I think the first thing I had to learn is that I was rejected for a reason. Is it because I didn’t have the right timing or right person (in writing especially)? Or was I rejected for something I should fix? This second question is harder to answer because, unfortunately, people don’t typically define why a rejection came. I would say if there are a lot, you might want to seek outside advice to make sure there is not something to improve. I also find myself asking if this is the path I want to pursue. Is it the best option? Or would a different path be better?

I have come to learn that the world constantly asks how much I want something. Am I willing to fight? Am I willing to do everything right and still not succeed? I know they define insanity by doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. In some cases, this is true (which is why we should evaluate the situation). But, the world is competitive. Sometimes it takes beating our heads against a wall until that wall finally breaks.