Every writer gets used to dealing with rejection. It gradually gets easier. Sort of. Okay, I’m lying. Here’s a handy dandy guide on handling that I’ve put together:
1. First, you cry. As the first tear leaks from your eye to roll down your cheek, you feel like a wimp. And writers are not wimps. So you wipe away the tears and tell yourself to buck up.
2. Next you curse the stupidity of all editors, agents and anyone in the publishing world in general and the specific person who just rejected you, specifically. Anger is much better than wimphood, you realize.
3. Then you decide because everyone in the publishing world is blind to your brilliance and stupid not to publish your story (or essay, or poem, or novel) that you will show them. You return to your computer to write more lucid, muscular prose.
4. You sit at the computer and stare off into space. Every time your fingers hit the keyboard, you hear that nagging voice that insists you’re the one with the problem, not them. Your work isn’t brilliant, it’s awful. You’re an idiot for thinking you could write.
5. A cup of coffee sounds good. Maybe caffeine will silence the voices. But then you realize if you go to the local coffee shop, you’ll have to face people. And one of those people might ask you how your writing is going. And even though you technically aren’t required to blurt out the details of your latest rejection, you’ll feel like a liar if you simply smile and nod and say that everything is going well. Everyone knows you’re not supposed to lie. That goes double for writers.
6. You settle for a cup of coffee from your home pot, ducking your head so as not to have to meet the eyes of your spouse. You don’t want to have to tell her/him the details of your failure, either.
7. Skulk back to the computer. Skulk is such a good writerly word that thinking of it cheers you. It proves you are a writer. Yes, you are. You’re a writer, you’re a writer, you’re a writer. Saying it makes it so.
8. But writing is what really makes you a writer. And the words still won’t come.
9. You sit at the computer, hands idle, eyes locked on some far distant point outside your window, until you feel the tears come. And then you let it all out. You cry, you scream, you holler, you pace, you yell, you wallow in your misery. After a good long bout of this behavior, which you are so wrapped up in you don’t even care if its wimpy, you dry your tears and take a deep breath.
10. And you begin again to write. You realize that the only way out is through.