If there is such a thing as rejection phobia, I have it.
I spend a good deal of time avoiding anything that I’m not good at in order to make sure I’m never bad enough to be rejected. There are the bigger things like applying only to my safety schools during my senior year in high school, and the small ones. You should see me attempt to casually play mini-golf. I barely crack a smile.
Recognition is the first step to change I tell my clients, and sometimes I actually take my own advice.
I decided to give rejection a whirl. Dip a toe in, you might say.
In the last six months, I applied for two book awards, and submitted an excerpt from my forthcoming book to five magazines. Each time I hit send the ol’ gem, This will be a good experience, whispered in my ear, and I made peace that no response could be my only answer.
Weeks and weeks and weeks later, the submissions were so far out of my mind that when emails appeared in my inbox, I assumed they must be newsletters I’d forgotten about, or spam.
Nope. They were rejections, and little did I expect a good experience to be true.
In addition to “no, thank you,” they offered:
- “We wanted to let you know we think you’re on to something here. You have a great voice and an ear for framing…We hope that you will submit work to us again in the future.”
- “Oftentimes life’s big events – a divorce, the death of a loved one, a life-threatening illness – provide the impetus for a book. I’M SCARED & DOING IT ANYWAY falls into that category…the story makes perfect sense and immediately engages the reader…its power is in the execution and in the writer’s voice. Because every word is deeply felt and considered, the reader is…genuinely moved.”
I’ve received praise from people I admire and respect before, but from these strangers means something different.
They make being a writer more real.
Who would have thought that rejection could be so encouraging?