When I was in high school I sent 3 pieces I wrote for submission into our literary magazine. My parents suggested I try it since I was getting serious about writing. I randomly selected the pieces for submission. About a month later I was asked to pick up my pieces where I would find out if they were accepted or rejected. In bold red ink I noticed “Rejected” written in cursive handwriting. The aesthetic didn’t help the blow. I thought to myself, “Crap. I suck at writing.”
Why is it that we automatically judge ourselves after rejection. I mean it’s almost immediately. My eyes still fell to the “Rejected” written on each paper and my mind jumped to judgement. We are such fragile humans. Our egos can only bruise so much. The act of submitting those pieces took a lot of strength and courage-not to mention a lecture from my father about “just doing it”. And if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of his lectures they can be lengthy! Being able to stomach rejection and then continue creating can be difficult.
We are all rejected at some point in our lives. Whether it be rejected by a crush, rejected from a job or creative rejection. It comes in many forms but still feels the same. The important thing is how you handle rejection. How do you pick yourself up and keep going? How do you overcome rejection?
- Ask for feedback. If it’s about a job you didn’t get or an artistic piece that wasn’t accepted to a gallery ask for feedback. In the case of a job you may find out that you were under qualified and need more experience. In the case of an artistic piece it may be that the gallery was looking for something a little different but to submit again in the future. Feedback can help us improve upon ourselves and make our work stronger.
- Make changes or edits. When it comes to writing, a piece may go through many edits before it is published. Just like that I go through many edits on each of these blog posts to edit them down to what I feel is good. Making changes or edits to something creatively can help you move forward from rejection. If you take feedback and apply it to a piece it may just pass the test the second time around.
- Keep working. Don’t ever give up after rejection. If Shakespeare gave up after his critics shunned his work would we have been blessed with A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Keep working at it. Find new ways to approach your work. Work harder but smarter and the end result will improve.
Rejection can leave you frustrated and longing to give up. Keep at it! Keep moving forward. If I gave up every time a blog post failed at readership, I wouldn’t be here today still working through this process of being a better blogger. I do it because I believe I can and that this will work. Never give up! Keep pushing through and keep improving on things. You’ll be surprised when things work out!
What ways do you overcome rejection? Share them with us!