I’ve been a fulltime freelancer for about 3 months now. In that time I’ve had 9 published clips, I have gotten contracts with 2 magazines (one a startup), started working with my local tourism board, and sent in a book proposal that covers working as a seasonal employee. I’ve learned so much about the ups and downs of this business. And the starve or thrive mentality that goes with it. But mostly I’ve learned about rejection.
Before I sent my first pitch I had dabbled in submissions. I knew that writing was always something I wanted to do. It was one my passions and something I had been doing as a hobby for most of my life. I used to write plays for a children’s theater program. I always had some book idea in the works. And more than that I used writing as an outlet to express myself. But when I got rejected before, it was crushing. It’s part of the reason I started so late. I couldn’t handle the no because I thought it meant I was doomed to be a failure. That this thing I loved to do was ultimately a fool’s errand. Nothing more than the scribbles of a ridiculous ego obsessed person.
But then I got the best advice anyone could ever get. I was listening to a podcast by a popular indie author and she said, “if you’re getting rejected, you’re working.” And oh how true that is. If you’re getting rejected, it means you took the time to get something written on paper and submitted it. The more rejections, the more writing your doing. I took that idea and ran with it. Instead of loathing the form rejection letter, I loved it. Because it meant I was actually writing. And getting multiple rejections a week meant I was actually doing a week’s worth of writing.
Then a funny thing happened. The more rejections I got, I started getting some yes’s. Those form rejection letters are actually coming back with feedback which means someone took the time to really consider my work.
It’s easy to get downhearted with the no’s. They bog us down. They make us wonder why are we doing this in the first place. But then once you start to get the yes’s, though, in small supply, it starts to even the scales.
I may not like getting feedback or being told that the article is great but not a good fit, but at the end of the day it means I’m doing something right. It means I’m working, I’m writing, I’m submitting, and someone is actually reading my work.