QueryTracker Blog

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Celebrating Rejection

Courtesy of pdufour
As writers, I think we know just as well as anyone what it means to be rejected. To feel that we don't measure up or aren't good enough. And to hear this over and over and over again until we start to wonder if it might be true.


This is one of the things that makes pursuing a career in writing so difficult. Because, you see, the rejections don't end once an agent agrees to represent you. Publishers will likely end up rejecting you at some point, as will some of the audience. In truth, rejections will happen your entire career, because there is no possible way to be everything to everyone.


And that's all right.


But today, I'd like to celebrate the thousands of rejections we'll all receive in life. From the agent, to the editor, to the reviewers, and even sometimes from those that we love and hold the closest.


But why celebrate something that can be so painful? Something that we sometimes even come to believe for a time? Because rejection is proof that you're not just existing--you're living.


If you never dreamed, never tried, you would never put yourself out there. You would never spend hours and hours writing and rewriting and fixing and polishing and doing it all over again, if you didn't have something important to say. You wouldn't spend time learning how to craft a query letter, write up a synopsis, come up with a tagline and keep working on it until you got it right if you didn't believe in what you were doing.


And you wouldn't then send out those queries, those manuscripts, knowing full well that most of them will come back with a rejection attached if you wanted to live quietly in a safe and sheltered world.


Because by daring to dream, by taking that risk, by opening yourself up for rejection, you are living. And it takes courage to live, to try, to fail, and to succeed. Those rejections cluttering up the dark corners of your inbox are a testament that you have thrown off safe and secure, that you've stepped out of the black and white into a world filled with color and possibility.


And that is something very much worth celebrating.

Danyelle writes MG and YA fantasy. In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She can be found discussing the art of turning one's characters into various animals, painting with words, and the best ways to avoid getting eaten by dragons on her blog. 

24 comments:

jbchicoine said...

You have no idea how much I appreciate this reminder! Thanks for that :)

Natalie Zaman said...

I really needed this today <3 Thanks for posting! xxNat

Renae said...

What a great reminder of why we put ourselves out there.

Well done!

Catherine Lavoie said...

Awesome post! I really needed a pep talk today and this one is truly inspiring! Thank you! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great post! The best way to deal with rejection is fall in love with a new project. When that one becomes your new baby, the rejections on the other one don't hurt as much.

Kristi Helvig said...

I love this post. I have a quote by Helen Keller posted on my bathroom mirror. It says, "Life is either a daring adventure...or nothing." I'll always pick the adventure. :)

Brigitte said...

I definitely could have used this post when I was applying for university. Thanks for reminding me to stay positive in the face of rejection! ;)

I think it's fair to say that art students have a pretty good idea what it is to be rejected, as well. Especially in film, since it's such a competitive field, about as much as writing is. Every rejection is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes to do better next time. :)
xoxo

raisingmarshmallows said...

Thank you for this post! I just recieved an email rejection. This has helped me from going to that dark place of self-pitty.

Nikki

Angie said...

Thanks, Danyelle. You are a wise woman! We should wear those rejections like a badge of honor.

Taryn Tyler said...

Thank you. Its good to be reminded of things worth celebrating.

Shakespeare said...

*Sob* you are right. I've been collecting all of these rejection letters, but I haven't earned any lately. I still don't have enough to cover the walls in my writing office.

I'm back to work. Thanks for the inspiration!

Deren Hansen said...

Perhaps there's something in the air, or its simply that great minds think alike. Just a few days ago, I rhapsodized The Great Chain of Rejection in post at The Laws of Making.

Briefly, it's not just the number of personal rejections we have or will receive, it's that the entire industry is a chain of rejections: agents reject authors; editors reject agents; publishers reject editors; book buyers reject publishers; customer reject book buyers.

If you step back and try to comprehend your place in the never-ending cycles of rejection, it's hard not to have a Lion King moment.

Victoria Dixon said...

What a wonderful way to lift yourself and others! Thanks so much, Danyelle!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Wonderful post! Thank you!

Porter Anderson said...

Thanks for the post, Danyelle.

Picking up on Brigitte's smart comment about rejection when we're students, I think it makes sense to add a line here from my own fairly mature spot on the lifespan spectrum: "it gets better."

I'm borrowing that phrase. It's being put to excellent use these days by an effort to tell LGBTQ young people that if they can get past those student years, they'll find there's less animosity and more internal fortitude ahead. Here's the group, in case you're interested: http://ht.ly/3GH7Z

Regarding our point here, I've found that I handle writerly rejection better as I grow. You learn more about who you are, why your work counts -- when to say, "What was I thinking? They're right!" and when it's simply a bad match of my material and the venue I'd gone after.

So I'll celebrate with you the dares you're talking about, Danyelle. And while I'm not the oldest hack -- I only barely remember the Magna Carta, you know -- I'll just add that time really is on everyone's side in this currently upended (sometimes nearly hysteric) industry. Even publishing will calm down in a while, you know, once everybody gets over the platformy-transmedia-ebooky evolution and gets into slinging the digital hash.

It gets better, folks. Nerves of steel. Wait for it, wait for it ...

Richard said...

Mmmmm, still sucks.

sherrypeters said...

Thanks Danyelle, like everyone else, I really needed to hear that, especially today and this past week.

Plamena Schmidt said...

Beautiful post : )

Joanne Stewart said...

What a wonderful, inspiring post. I'm going to have to keep this one. Thanks for the pick me up. <3

Yvonne Osborne said...

Thank you for the reminder that it takes a lot of courage to set yourself up for rejection. It's also nice to realize that I'm not the only one with dark cluttered corners in my inbox. The ones I hate to look at.

Melanie said...

great post. i too really needed this today. thank you so much. *goes off to check email for the 6,397th time today to see if i've received another R* :D

E. Arroyo said...

YES!! I can party. Great post!

susangilbertcollins said...

When I started sending out short stories years ago, I told myself I wouldn't hide or deny my rejection slips. I wanted to know I was strong enough to face them. So I posted each one on a large bulletin board behind my desk. At least one friend thought I was crazy.

But I found that while each individual rejection slip could spin me into the depths of despair when it first arrived, looking at them collectively made me feel...good. For exactly the reasons you've mentioned in this post. I was living. I was doing what I loved. This was part of it.

Jan Rider Newman said...

Wow. I am really, really living and putting myself out there. LOL. Great post. Thanks.