Rejection comes in several forms. Sometimes it comes with a list of things that are wrong with your story. Sometimes it comes with a list of things that you can do to improve your story. Sometimes it comes with no explanation at all, and you are left alone to scratch your head and wonder what you did wrong.
What comes next tells the true tale of who you really are. It is the story behind the story.
Do you dismiss the criticism and vent to all of your friends about how some stupid person had the nerve to find fault with your work? Do you ignore the advice and eat seven bowls of chocolate ice cream all the while mumbling that someone didn’t recognize genius when they saw it? Do you throw your hands up in the air in defeat while pitching your manuscript in the trash? Do you walk away and never attempt to tell a story again?
Or do you work through the hurt and then take a long, hard look at your manuscript with honest eyes? Are you willing to do anything and everything within your power to become a better writer? Are you teachable?
Your reaction to rejection reflects the truth about you.
Having recently faced a publisher’s rejection I have been pondering this concept, and I have come to the conclusion that it is applicable to more than just the writing aspect of my life. You see, at the exact same time that I have been facing rejection as a writer I have also been facing rejection in some relationships.
The reality is that a life fully lived is going to require some vulnerability on my part. I am going to put myself out there…and I am going to be judged.
Inevitably, rejection will be a part of the process at times, and there is nothing that can be done to adequately prepare for pain that is soul deep. Sometimes it will come with a long list of my faults. Sometimes it will come with some advice on how I can improve. And sometimes it will come with no explanation at all.
What am I going to do with this experience? Will I retreat in fear? Will I lash out in anger?
Or will I work through the hurt and take a long, hard look at myself with honest eyes? Can I learn something from this process that will make me a better human being? Am I teachable?
As a person, and as a writer, I wish that I could say that my first reaction to rejection has always been mature and well thought out. However, if I am going to speak honestly I have to say that I have felt hurt and angry and afraid.
But I have felt the unwavering gaze of God on me in the swirl of my emotions. He is my one true thing. The One who sees all of my faults and does not walk away. The One who loves me in spite of me.
~ Tracy Bowen
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