I’ve always had a problem with rejection.
I could get all deep with the history – the father that left, the girls that giggled and turned away, the jobs that hired others. I could even just focus on the last year, and every single “Thank you for your interest in so-and-so literary agency” email that I got (they never get easier to read), or didn’t get (nothing like no reply at all to really resolve things). Or I could just tell you about how I was trying to contact a certain establishment (to set up a book reading event) using their online form (which is never more than just typing some words and hitting send, you know), only to be met with a “Server Error” page – and during the follow up phone calls (that weren’t returned) and finally getting through, being greeted with a harsh “We got your emails and voice message!” like I had been stalking the person or something.
I could write all damn day about rejection, because it’s the kind of response that can cancel out a million positive reactions in one fatal swoop – and I know you’d know what I’m talking about. Everyone hates rejection. Does anyone like rejection? I don’t know anyone who does. I hear people say stupid ass shit like “Haters make me stronger” and whatever other ego trip they decide to express, but I’ll say it straight up – rejection sucks, and it hits deep.
And if you are the creative type, or more specifically, the creative type that believes you’ve got something worthwhile to share, you face a 99% chance of either receiving rejection blows straight to the gut or tripping into a 6 foot deep hole of complete and utter lack of response when trying to get your work out beyond your safe little sphere of happiness and joy and sunshine flavored cupcakes.
The only thing that has helped me – and I recognize that this is possibly a sign of mental illness – is to keep on. Keep on keepin’ on. Like all those rejections never happened; like people are actually just waiting to hear from someone like me because they’ve been looking for what I have to offer them. I know, it sounds completely insane, and I’m still getting used to it myself – but it’s the only way I’ve been able to get anything accomplished. And really, when I stop and think about it for a second (which is usually when I first lie down to go to sleep at night), I realize that I’ve come a long way. I mean, just the fact that I didn’t give up when I shared the first chapters I wrote – which took some strong criticism as well – or when no literary agent would touch the finished project, or when some of my good friends told me they couldn’t even read it because of the language. I still finished it, and then edited it, and edited it again, and again, and again…and then the cover, and then the website, and so on and so forth, just to get a decent book together. Then the promotion, and the talking with stores, and the book tour – I look back and realize I’ve done a lot. And I’m still 100% committed – and it’s paying off. Somehow, by continuing on, doing a lot to get a little back in return every day, it’s working out.
I can’t tell you how many people I offered the ebook to for free – several times even – and didn’t hear a word from, who are now coming back to me asking how they can buy the paperback. People in different countries contacting me, people I don’t even know! And not a single step of it would’ve happened had I not been rejecting enough of the rejections so freely given to me…
So that’s it. No great words of wisdom, no real moral to the story. Just good ol’ fashioned stubbornness, in which I am not lacking in the least. I just keep on pushin’ forward – because I’ve got too much left behind that I no longer have time for…