One of my students recently asked me how she was supposed to submit her work when there was the horrifying possibility that it would be rejected.
As a writer, I am well-accustomed to rejection. Most artists know a thing or two about rejection. Even when it is an ordinary occurrence, however, rejection is never easy. In fact, as it comes less often and the artist finds her stride, it may even have greater impact.
Rejection is rejection is rejection. It's not terribly fun and there's no way I can think of to spin it that way. So here are a few coping strategies I propose.
1. You know that low attention span we're all accused of having in the digital age? Yeah, use it to you advantage! After being rejected, find distraction. Modern times may mean that we are multitasking experts, but it also means there's always media to distract. Time to finally watch Justified or Mad Men. Time to read the new Toni Morrison novel. Time to read After the Gazebo (shameless!). Time to workout. Whatever it is, look over there .... something new.
2. Keep moving forward! It's not always the right time or the right piece or the right topic for that particular publication. It often has nothing to do with your piece.
3. Listen to feedback. Sometimes rejection is an opportunity to grow.
4. Start a new project. Use your energy for good.
5. Print the rejection out, if it's in writing, and put it in a special place. Maybe buy a decorative box or do like Stephen King and pin them up on the wall. Keep rejections as mementos, so when you've achieved all you wanted and more, they'll be there to make you smile at how far you've come.
Prompt: Free-write for 20 minutes about one of your mementos, something you've kept longer than five years. If you're like me, a minimalist, you have very few to choose from and it will be easy. For those of you who are more sentimental, just go with what's nearest. Set a timer. Go! If the magic happens, go 10 more minutes. If it doesn't, consider it training.
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