Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Twenty-Six Days to the Finish Line - Handling Rejection

Panic—we’ve all been there. We all know the rush of adrenalin surging through our bodies. Fear, insecurity, or lack of confidence over something we have to accomplish—a meeting at work, a new project to complete, a presentation to make, a race to run, a final draft emailed to an editor, a job interview, or how about a blind date. Wow. Sixty and dating? (That’s a subject for another post.)

When confronted with one of these scenarios a voice plays in our heads (remember that voice that sounds like our own?) Anyway, that voice tells us we have good reason to be afraid. The last interview we had we failed to get the job. The last manuscript we sent was rejected. The recent presentation we made fell flat. So how do we control the panic? 

We prepare. We visualize. We follow a script. We pray a lot. We do our best because anything less is unacceptable. And if we do our best and we still don’t land the job or sell the manuscript, we suck up the disappointment and look for other opportunities. Of course it hurts. But how you handle that hurt, determines success the next time around, and the next. 

Analyze the rejection or “the pass” as they say in the publishing world. What did the potential employer or the editor see in me or in my writing that I haven’t noticed before? What can I do to improve?  It’s much easier to blame the interviewer or the editor and say they didn’t “get” me, or they didn’t see the value of my contribution, or my work. It’s their loss. If you view the rejection in that light, it’s easy to stay stuck in the moment and feel resentful, which takes a lot of energy that could be used to learn something new.

Last September I received passes from two big publishers within days of each other. My immediate reaction was to blow it off and blame them for not taking my work seriously. Then after the initial hurt passed, I went to work analyzing their comments to determine what I could do to address their concerns, not for resubmission but for future submissions. What’s the point of falling short of a goal if you don’t learn something about yourself? It’s not easy, but it’s necessary if you want to reach the next goal you set.  

My ankle is still swollen from my fall the other day, and I won’t be able to log the miles I need. Panic could easily set in, but I choose not to let it, at least for today, and I can’t worry about tomorrow until it gets here. Then I’ll have another choice to make. I hope it's not to worry about tomorrow.

Happy writing and running, Kathy

1 comment:

Jenn said...
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