Well maybe I don’t relish rejection, maybe I just like the word because it brings to mind condiments, which are such friendly and non-intimidating forms of food, and rejection can most definitely be INTIMIDATING. Over the years I’ve certainly gotten better at taking it, rejection that is (of course I love condiments too, my favorite being mustard).
If you’re an artist of any kind it can be difficult to put your work “out there”, whether it’s a painting, a poem, a photograph, a story. We open up and expose the tender parts of ourselves and it can hurt when those tender parts are handled roughly. The good news is that it gets easier. Maybe that soft underbelly starts to form a little callus. Maybe our self esteem learns not to rupture so easily.
This past week I got a rejection that was a little bit painful. I just started querying agents for the YA book that I finished writing at the end of last year and I was so excited when an agent that I really liked asked to see the first fifty pages of my manuscript. She seemed really excited about the book and told me that she’d get back to me in the next few weeks. Of course this meant that I immediately started checking my email every fifteen minutes to see if she’d responded and began dreaming of what it would feel like to have my book out in print (Yes, I realize that I was jumping the gun a bit. This is my forte).
Well, on Sunday night I received the agent’s reply saying that she was passing on the project. She had some very nice things to say about my writing and some good suggestions to make my book stronger. Although I was disappointed, I didn’t experience the hit to the gut that I’ve felt before with rejection. I was sad, yes, but encouraged nevertheless. I’ve only just begun the querying process. It was naïve to think that I’d snatch up an agent on my first try. So it’s back to the drawing board, maybe a little revision to my query letter, a closer look at my story and then I’m back out there again.
Bring on the relish.