Who doesn’t hate rejection? It sucks. It hurts. It’s absolutely no fun.
I remember my first serious rejection was during the college application process. I applied to a certain Ivy League school early decision. I had great grades and activities, and my test scores weren’t awful. I thought I had a chance. I remember being so shocked and upset that they didn’t want me. I guess I hadn’t experienced much rejection at that point. But I found a school that did want me, and now I can’t imagine having spent my college years anywhere but Smith.
When you try to get published and find an agent, you often become quite accustomed to rejection (unless, of course, you’re one of those lucky people who get published right away). Getting used to rejection is not a bad thing. If you can’t take it, then you very likely give up your dream. You do your best with each query letter, but tell yourself there’s a good chance it won’t happen–just to get yourself ready for the big N-O.
When I get turned down for something, I usually have to take about 24 hours (at a minimum) to feel upset and depressed. Something awful happened, and I need to take it in. And then I try to put it behind me the best I can and move on. For me, each rejection leads naturally to a new plan. And the same coping strategy has worked well for my book tour.
What’s more painful for me then dealing with any of my own rejections, is watching my son deal with disappointment. I refused to apply for any preschools that required an interview for a two-year-old, darn it. First come, first in works fine for me. And I am so proud when he gets an award (student of the month this month in his class!). But when he came home and told me that a little girl in his class, a friend he desperately wanted, “didn’t like him,” my heart broke a little. And I stewed over it for days. But I didn’t do anything to interfere—just suggested that maybe we ask another child in his class home for a playdate.
Unfortunately for my son and myself, it’s not the first time our hearts will get broken or someone will turn us down for something. But I figure it just makes us stronger in the long run.