People love rejection.
We get crushes on girls who
never notice us. We buy lottery tickets knowing the chance of winning is
small, but the chance of SOMEBODY winning is great. We root for
underdogs, who--more often than not--prove time and time again why they
were considered underdogs.
We dream of jobs we'll
never have. Sights we'll never see. Cars we'll never drive.In some ways,
some of us spend our waking hours dreaming of lives we'll never live.
And most of us are okay with living vicariously through actors and
athletes and musicians and models and writers.
of us think we are smarter than the rest. Some of us crave our own share of
the spotlight, the blank canvas, the new chord or reinvented
melody. The camera's lens. Some of us even sit in dark offices or quiet
cafes, staring at virgin Word files, seeing possibility where moments
ago none existed. We see characters that don't sleep. Landscapes that
terrify and inspire. We catch glimpses of that emotional chain that
binds us to every other human on the planet. We convert our frustrations
and dreams into stories that we can package and sell to publishers and
readers and in the process we're inventing whole new ways to feel that
sting, the bitter bite of a rejection that we so deeply crave.
because we invite that rejection into our homes. Sit down to dinner
with it. Sometimes we even go to bed with it. Either way, we own it
because we created it and requested it.
I love life post-rejection. The legitimized complaining and
self-analysis. The guilt-free trips into the bottle. The bitter smirk
that's my little way of saying, "Just wait and see what I'm going to do
next. It's going to blow your doors off." And no time is more magical
than that first hour or so after receiving the rejection. For about sixty minutes the mind
is clear enough to let the writer solve all of the publishing
industries' internal problems--distribution, marketing, genre trends.
For sixty minutes we know what readers REALLY want. With luck there's
time left over to tackle politics or the relative superiority of East Coast
rap before reality sets in. Before the mind clouds and logic stops
making sense. Before we're back in the artificial reality of our Word
Because you know what people love more than rejection?
We love being proven right. It's in our blood right between the
hemoglobin and lymphocytes.We love knowing that our hours spent looming
over the Word file weren't wasted. We love stepping around the naysayers
that litter the path like dog crap on a sidewalk. Even if we have to
become better writers to do it, we want to show the world that they were
wrong. So we embrace rejection. We take the feeling and bank it,
because without that feeling we are satisfied.
we are no longer hungry. We get sleepy. Lazy. Everybody knows that
nothing good creatively can come from satisfaction.
and the art of creation--by nature--relies on rejection or some form of
destructive element. Just look at how mammals flourished and diversified
after the Cretaceous mass extinction wiped out triceratops and its
cousins. Maybe working through rejection is how we learn to finally get
I suppose we suffer rejection to achieve
acceptance. We want the industry, peers and readers to like what we do
and give it their stamp of approval. And as nice as that is, acceptance
is a goal. The end of a path. But acceptance can't motivate because it doesn't fuel the fire quite
like rejection does. Acceptance tells us that everything is okay.
And if everything really WAS okay we'd have no reason to suffer the
process of creation. No reason to write or create.
I say embrace the rejection. It's a reward for the hours we put in. Battle scars, and all that.