Hi all! Welcome back to another installment of A to Z of Things Writers Should Know About Writing. Today I’m writing about something that all writers must get used to.
It’s totally a thing.
And it can be devastating. I mean, we create our stories. We spend weeks, months — even years — to write them, edit them and polish them until they’re practically begging to be published. Or so we think.
Until we keep hearing the same thing again and again: No.
Oh, these “no’s” take a million different forms when we’re querying. Anything from a form rejection (which can and has come in in less than a minute from sending) to personalized rejections that can and do make us feel like we missed it by a tiny fraction — which might be worse than a form rejection.
Even when we finally get a yes and get published, or if we decided to go the self-publishing way, there is still rejection to be found.
Readers might not like our stories. After everything we went through to put a story before them, they might simply not like it. And that really hurts. Arguably, even more than the agent and publisher rejection.
Readers are, after all, the reason why we publish. (Not why we write, mind you, but publishing’s another animal entirely.)
We publish because we want people to read our work. More than that, we want people to like our work. And getting a “no” in any form (even if it really wasn’t meant that way), it hurts.
So what do we do? People always speak about writers needing thick skins. But as I thought of this post, I realized that a thick skin really isn’t the thing. See, when we write, we actually revealed our souls in our writing. Our stories are part of us. So having them rejected in any way just won’t stop stinging any more than a slap to a face would.
No. I think we really just learn how to breathe through the pain. We feel it. We learn how to deal with it.
And you can learn how to do it too. Start by accepting critiques on your work without letting yourself feel personally insulted. Cultivate a habit of learning what you can and knowing when a rejection means something.
Yeah, I know that this might sound stupid, but it really isn’t. Really, it comes down to realizing that, although our stories are personal, differing opinions about those stories really aren’t. It might feel that every person who doesn’t like our story that much is really insulting us as much as it.
That’s just not true. Honestly, I don’t even think the reader ever thinks of the writer when he/she reads. Which is how it should be.
So learn to realize that although the story is part of you, the rejection isn’t aimed at you. You’ll be a much better writer that way.
Anyone want to share war stories from querying/publishing trenches? Got tips?