Let’s face it, rejection happens. We get rejected in every facet in our lives.
For writers, that rejection happens when we send out a pitch that isn’t accepted. Sometimes it isn’t even acknowledged. Then it’s easy to fall into a cycle of negative thinking. Rejection becomes fear becomes lack of effort, or giving up entirely.
As a mental health counselor, I say feel the rejection. Many posts written on rejection teach writers how to get past it. How you can shake it off or let it roll off your back.
As a person who has dealt with rejection in the past (and has low self-esteem to boot), it’s hard for me to do that. Even more so, I find that those two sayings are crap. It’s like telling me to sweep my feelings under a rug.
Why is it so hard for some people to feel rejection? Because it royally sucks! Rejection leaves you thinking negative thoughts. You focus on them… way too much. How do you move on?
These six steps will help you get beyond rejection in your freelance blogging career and any other aspect of your life:
Step 1: Acknowledge It
I tell clients that creating change is impossible without knowing what the problem is.
If you were rejected by your dream job, admit it. If you didn’t deliver your pitch on time, recognize it. It happened.
Step 2: Feel the Feeling
Admitting that rejection happened isn’t the same thing as feeling the emotions associated with it. Let yourself think all the negative thoughts you want. It’s a natural process for us to review things.
Unfortunately, when we’re rejected —or sometimes even when we’re not— we go over everything. We evaluate and analyze. Don’t do that yet. Sit with the rejection feeling for a while and then try the next step.
Step 3: Make a Crap List
The crap list is where you put all your negative thoughts. If you’ve completed the last step, you have everything you need to get that list started. Just grab a pen and paper. (You can type it up and print it out instead — you’ll need a hard copy for the next step.)
Write down everything that comes to mind. I call this “getting the junk out”. I do this when I’m feeling incredibly hard on myself (just did it yesterday). Everything that’s bugging me goes on this list. “I’m not a good writer.” “I suck.” “Why does this keep happening to me?” When you get the junk out, you have more room in your mind to look at the rejection objectively. At the very least, all the crap you’re thinking is put on paper and out of your brain.
Step 4: Rip Up the List
I’ve used this technique with some of my clients. Sometimes writing the crap list isn’t enough to make you feel better. Honestly, it’s not about feeling better right away. It is simply a healthy way to clear your mind. Rip up that list.
Take your time. Start wherever you like. I like making long strips out of the paper and then tearing it into small thumb-sized pieces. I find that when I do this I maximize the benefits.
The physical action of ripping the paper allows you some contact with your rejection. One thing that I like about kids is that they just do. They act out their feelings because they can’t always verbalize their anger. But we adults lose the skill of living our feelings. Ripping up the list allows you control over your anger about the rejection and helps you act out in a healthy way. You don’t hurt yourself or anyone else — just a page or two of paper.
Step 5: Talk About It
Sometimes, any or all of the above isn’t enough. You can talk about the rejection with a pal. Why does this help? The other person can point out the things we cannot see. They can show you your “blind spot”.
Being a therapist allows me to fill in the “blind spot” for my clients. I can point out their strengths and show them things they may have missed. For example, a friend can show you that the closing date for the pitch was a week before you sent it in. Or that friend could point out that the market closed down. Having a pal to talk to about your rejection with can bring you a different perspective.
Step 6: Keep Going Forward
When I started this post, I was feeling bad that I hadn’t written it already. I promised it to Sophie sometime in June, so I felt terrible that I hadn’t done it yet. Along with some other projects that I’ve not started.
What did I do? I sat down at the computer to write this. I didn’t know how this would turn out; I only knew that I had to get started. Even when you’re rejected, you can start something new. And when you do, you might be surprised at what happens next.
There’s no real formula for overcoming rejection. Everyone gets rejected at some point. And even if you’re stuck in it, it’s part of the process.
I may get stuck in negativity, but doing things despite that allows me to control how rejection affects me.
For some, rejection fuels their energy and pushes them to try harder.
For others, rejection slows down the process. And for others yet, rejection stops them in their tracks.
If you need to break free of rejection, only you can decide what works for you.
Use these 6 steps as your launchpad, and rise up.
Image: Todd Huffman