Are you terrified of rejection?
ALL writers have this fear early in their career. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, if you suffer from fear of rejection, it invariably means that you have the potential to be a seriously good writer… you just need to flip your perspective.
Here’s what I tell my writing students: set out to get rejected.
Yes, that’s right. See how many rejections you can collect in a month, a week, a day…
Way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I started writing professionally (1970s) rejection slips were a fact of life. Everyone got rejected. In those days, content factories didn’t exist, so if you wanted to write, you knew you’d get rejected.
And those rejections cost time and money. You’d type your manuscript, send it out, and it boomeranged back within weeks, with a rejection slip attached.
If you were lucky, the material was clean, and you could send it to another market as-is. If you were unlucky, the ms was too messy, it needed to be retyped. Word by laborious word. (In those days, I had an IBM Selectric — it was a fun machine, but it nevertheless took time to retype rejected material.)
Writers joked about papering their walls with rejection slips, and collecting a shoebox full of “not for us at this time” letters…
So, I decided that since that was the game, I’d collect as many rejection slips as I could. I looked forward to receiving them…
Then a weird thing happened. I got acceptances. Lots of them.
I’ve been teaching my students that little mind trick for years: if you’re scared of rejection, see how many you can collect. Make a game out of it.
Here’s the big benefit: you keep writing. Writing becomes fun.
Sooner or later, as you start getting acceptances, you realize that it’s all a NUMBERS GAME.
Professional writers know that this is true. If you’re writing for magazines, chances are you’ll get ten rejections for each acceptance. That’s standard. Ditto major websites.
Even if you’re a long-time contributor to a magazine or website, you’ll get rejections, for any number of reasons.
Rejections are feedback, that’s all
WRITE. You need to shift a lot of dirt to get a few diamonds, but those diamonds are worth it. 🙂
Each rejection is just feedback. Within a short period of time, you’ll realize that rejections no longer bother you — you just offer your material somewhere else, or use it in another project.
Go on — I dare you. See how many rejections you can get this week. 🙂
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