There is a challenge floating around social media for writers to gather 100 rejections this year. You see, writers can be a bunch of perfectionists. They don’t want to send anything out until it’s perfect, and they always hope that “one more draft” or “one more look” will make it so. But then they never quite think it is perfect, so the draft sits in the computer file, never to be seen by anyone other than the author.
Writers can also be a sensitive bunch. A friend of mine’s wife attended a famous writing conference in Tennessee. I don’t know what happened, but according to my friend, she was tempted never to write again. Even the mildest criticism can send some writers off into an ice cream and coffee binge, drowning their sorrows instead of writing.
So to gather the courage to send out enough work to get 100 rejections is a big deal for a writer. But it’s necessary if they hope to publish or even improve their work.
Fear of rejection, however, is not just a problem for writers. Most of us can relate to the cold fear that can sweep over our entire being when the possibility of rejection enters the room:
- We don’t ask a person on a date because he/she might say no.
- We don’t apply for a promotion because we might not get it, and our colleagues will know we failed.
- We don’t make a suggestion at a staff meeting because it might be turned down.
No one likes rejection, but the successful learn to muscle through and ask a person out, apply for the promotion, and/or make the suggestion. Because the only way to learn to handle rejection is to suffer through it and realize that it won’t kill you.
A great example comes from a book whose author and title now escape me. But this guy decided to get over his fear of asking girls out by going out to the quad on his college campus and asking every girl who passed by on a date. All but one said no, and that one stood him up. But he learned that while rejection is uncomfortable, it’s not fatal.
The lost elections of Abraham Lincoln’s career are common knowledge. Yet he became one of our country’s best presidents.
So if you have not been getting rejected lately, you probably aren’t trying hard enough. Get out there and have someone say no to you.
By the way, I have gathered two rejections since I joined the challenge at the beginning of July. And, yes, being rejected hurt, but I’m getting enough batch of stories ready to send.