Whew—this was a difficult post to write.
As an author, you’re signing yourself up for rejections on so many levels. Querying for an agent=rejections. Submissions to publishing houses=rejections. New story ideas to agent/publisher=rejections. And then there’s bad reviews that will come no matter which publishing path you choose.
I’m not a negative person. I’ve always purposefully looked for the bright side and believed I could get through anything with the right mindset. And after going through some dark valleys, I still believe this is true.
I didn’t write for a little over a year, as far as book writing goes, because of rejection. Well, that and my own body chemistry that sent me into depression. When your body can’t filter out the junk, it builds up and causes multiple systems to malfunction. And when you’re trying to write and all your brain registers is negativity, it builds up and clouds your ability to create.
Rejection of any form can be hard, especially when it comes from a trusted source, from a place where support is supposed to come from. If you’re living this, my heart goes out to you. Jeffe did a podcast about rejections and thick-skin a while ago, but it’s still a good one that may be a benefit. And maybe some of my experience will be able to help you.
How to deal with Author Rejection/Negativity:
Number One—and it seriously only has to be one—is to find support.
Support=people who believe in you.
Some authors find support in a writing group, some in a writing buddy. Others find it in their partner, a coach, an online friend, a fan, or a bestie. There’s no limit to where you can find support, but when your brain tells you you’re terrible and wasting your time putting words on the page, you need a genuine cheerleader to give you a lift up.
Second: Be Kind to Yourself.
Such simple words that hold a universe of challenges. Being kind to yourself will be different for everyone. For me, I had to stop piling on more negativity when I wouldn’t be able to write. I had to stop myself from wallowing in the pit. Count Rugen may have designed one specifically for Wesley, but our brains are even more malevolent when it comes to trapping our own potential.
And to do that I learned, and am still working on, how to meditate and do resonant breathing (huge source of my health issues is my body being stuck in fight-or-flight mode and both of these are tools to help break the cycle and move into rest-and-digest mode).
Rejection stings. Bad reviews, if you read them or are oh-the-horror tagged in them, sting. Edit letters, sting. But the best way to deal with them is to give yourself time. Step away and meditate, let your furry sidekick distract you, anything that can give your brain time to digest and set aside the negativity.
If you’re in the pit and don’t have anyone to lend you a hand, reach out. I know, it’s not easy. Trust me, I know. But one of the wonderful things about being a writer is knowing that there are gobs of other writers out there that have been and are going through the same thing, and many of them are more than happy to reach out. Trust me, you’ve got this.
Some links if you’re curious: