When I Want to Crawl Up in a Ball from Rejection

I can’t say I’m good with rejection.

Outwardly, I think I project an uh, okaaaaay attitude when I get rejected, but inwardly, a part of me wants to crawl up in a ball and die. Or at least CRY. But no, I keep calm and carry on….Or do I?

Sometimes I think it would be better to cry and rail and rant against the gods of rejection because then I’d get it out of my system, look ridiculous and then feel better about it.

Instead, my stiff upper lip seems to bury those rejections deep down in a well titled “fear.”

“It’s not you, it’s the idea,” a colleague and amazing pitch-er of articles, once told me.  Looking back at all my rejections, I can see that’s mostly true. We all believe there’s a person out there, one of the “annointed ones,” who never gets rejection, who has every idea greenlighted (greenlit?). As someone who has worked as an editor greenlighting ideas, I know there is no such person (and the people who get told yes too often do not always produce the best work, because they’re not used to perfecting their work.)

Some ideas were wrong for their publication, some ideas weren’t fully crafted enough, some ideas were simply too early for their time.

As a matter of fact, the night before a meeting with a big agent, she emailed me to tell me she realized she didn’t believe there was a a market for my book.

The good thing about me is I have about a million ideas a minute so by the time a rejection comes in I’m often onto the next project.

But still, I think it’s important to crawl up into that proverbial ball — take a moment to absorb the rejection — before moving on to the next project. So I’ll have no more well of fear.

Author: Amy Klein

Amy Klein is the author of "The Trying Game: Get Through Fertility Treatment and Get Pregnant Without Losing Your Mind," (Ballantine, 2020) based on her New York Times "Fertility Diary" column. Her writing on health, science, reproduction and essays has also appeared in Slate, Salon, The Washington Post, Aeon and more.