Writing, like any creative activity, can only be approached with the skin of a rhino. After all, there are plenty of pitfalls to doge and obstacles to overcome; you have to risk upsetting your friends and family as you shut yourself away for unfathomable amounts of time, living in your own head while you create a mish-mash of words you hope someone else will want to read. There’s no payment (unless you’ve a publishing deal), no right way to go about it (but lots of contradictory guidelines) and every time you send out a submission/revised draft, you risk the ultimate slap in the face; rejection.
But, as many successful authors will tell you, it’s all part of the writing process. And rejection doesn’t have to be such a bad thing; it’s all depends on how you deal with it. I received an excellent piece of advice from @inkwellHQ a few weeks ago:
“Remember Beckett: Every time we fail, we fail better.”
What excellent words to bestow upon a fellow writer; and how true! So, it got me thinking; if we’re all in the same situation, there’s got to be a million coping strategies out there that we can all share. Here’s a few thoughts of my own, to start us off.
- Rejection doesn’t have to mean you’re a bad writer; sometimes your piece won’t fit with what the publisher/magazine wanted. Research the typical content, submissions requests, competition judges before submitting.
- Actually listen to/read all feedback you receive – it’s usually not as bad as you think. It’s easy to fuse our own thoughts/disappointment with the actual advice and make things seem more bleak.
- Take the useful bits of constructive criticism and feed them into your work; this will help to improve it.
- Put the novel/short story/poem you submitted away for a week or two – even a month or a year – and then revisit it when you can face it. You’ll see the work in a whole new light and any future drafts will be much better.
These are just a few ideas which I hope might help. I might even have to pop back and remind myself of these ideals when the next rejection slip comes in.
So, how do you stay thick skinned and turn rejection into something positive?