Here's the Thing about Rejection
I’m sitting with my kids who are about to fall asleep. We’ve been using these sort of creepy relaxation stories to get them to calm down and they work like a charm. I say sort of creepy because the voices are so calming, we’ve fallen asleep on the floor a couple of times.
The lady on “Major Moony’s Cosmic Stressbuster" just suggested we take anything we’re worried about and put it in a bubble and let it float away. I like the mental picture of that, but I also know I’m popping that bubble and taking it back before that puppy has a chance to float anywhere.
I know I probably shouldn’t turn to a meditation story designed to get kids to fall asleep for answers in my life. That may not be the best theology.
About two months ago, I sent six requested proposals for my book. This means I met face-to-face with someone and they said they want to hear more about the book.
I was relieved when they were out of my hands, but then the waiting began. Since then, I’ve received three rejections. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s half. When I got number three today, a few things ran through my mind. One, was the fact that waiting was better when there were six chances. And two, as the shoes drop, I’m getting more stressed. So stressed, I found myself wanting to put it in a bubble and watch it float away.
This is the point in my blog where I usually say what I’ve learned. I might have a bulleted or numbered list of things. I’m not there yet. I know what the Bible says. I’m not defined by this or any success. I am a child of God and loved by Him. And He still cares about this thing that is upsetting me. He cares deeply and he wants to be the bubble that carries it away.
I know what fellow writers would say. Rejection is part of the business. It will happen time and time again. Listen to the critiques of those you admire and ignore the ones that don’t make sense to your story or voice. Grow from rejection instead of giving up. And keep writing.
I know what my family and friends would say. “I think it’ll definitely get published. Don’t worry about it.”(Most of them haven’t read it, but they love me.) This might be the most dangerous and important group. I want to believe them, but I’m afraid of letting them down. And I need them to encourage me.
And I know what the voice in my head is saying. “I wish I had the confidence and thick skin to deal with rejection.” No matter how many times I experience it, it just stinks. It hurts and makes me feel insignificant and small and silly for hoping for something. I don’t wish it on my worst enemy.
When I was a theatre director, I had to reject people all the time. These people were in high school which is an especially crappy time to deal with rejection. I did things like post the cast lists online so kids could react to the news at home instead of school. I posted them at the end of the week so they had the weekend to sort out their feelings. I had an open door policy for students who wanted to talk about their performance. And I tried to never, never take any decision lightly because I knew someone’s heart was on the line.
Ultimately, they still got hurt. That’s the whole risk part of taking the risk of putting yourself out there. It might be no and even if the person saying it is kind, no is still no.
I tend to be a glass is half full kind of person, so since three proposals are still out there, I have no choice but to see it as a half full glass. And until then I’ll keep writing.
Thanks for listening to me process this and sorry for no bulleted list. I’ll go back to that next week. I’m going to have the best list ever. Stay tuned…