Saturday, September 13, 2014

Does Rejection Make You RAR? by Mishael Austin Witty

Does Rejection Make You RAR?

If you are a writer, you will face rejection. This is a sad fact of life that I still find distressing, although I’m learning how to deal with it.

“Don’t take it personally,” they say, but really, how can we not take rejection of our writing personally? Each time we pick up a pen or open a new Word document, we’re opening ourselves and letting our hearts and souls pour out onto the page. One of my favorite quotes of all time, from Ernest Hemingway, says it best, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Not many of us use typewriters anymore, and, as I said, there’s more that goes into our writing than just blood. But he’s got the right idea.

When our writing is rejected, for whatever reason, it hurts. And, sometimes, if we’re in an especially bearish mood, it may make us want to roar...or, for the purposes of this blog post, we might just want to RAR.

1. First, I think it’s important for us to REACT to the rejection. As I said, it hurts. And we’re only human. We’re going to feel that hurt, and we should be allowed to do so. So often, when faced with rejection, I’ll try to stuff my feelings inside and not deal with them. This, as it turns out, is exactly the wrong thing to do. So, if you’re a “bottler” like me, I encourage you to (the next time you’re faced with rejection) let yourself react to the hurt. Feel it, acknowledge it, and move on to the next step.

2. ASK why the rejection occurred...or, more obscurely, what you might learn from the rejection. Sometimes, as is the case in my latest rejection, there’s no really good reason why your book was rejected. The quality’s there, but the publisher/committee/whatever just decided that it wasn’t right for them at the time. In that case, you can always try to resubmit at a later date, and sometimes you might be encouraged to do so. It’s up to you whether you’re willing to set yourself up possible rejection again at a later date. I’ve received this sort of rejection myself various times, but I’ve always let it stop me cold. I’m starting to rethink my position on this, as I think this sort of rejection might be an opportunity for me to learn and grow past my fears and insecurities to persist in the face of adversity...which leads to the final step.

3. Rejection is almost always an opportunity to REFOCUS on the things that are most important—both in your writing life and real life. As Christian writers, our main focus should be on pleasing God and telling others about Him. In the interest of trying to make money with my writing, I tend to focus on the more lucrative opportunities, whether I feel God’s leading in them or not. This, I’m finding out, is a very big mistake...and it could be a major reason why some things don’t always work out the way I’d wanted them to. Lesson learned...I think. At least, I hope so.
So, the next time you’re faced with rejection in writing or in any other aspect of your life, I hope you’ll take a step back and remember to do these three little things. It’s one very good way to turn a positive into a negative, so that you can keep on moving forward in response to your divine calling. I wish you all great success and very few rejections!

Mishael Austin Witty obtained a B.A. in psychology from the alma mater of Pearl S. Buck and an M.A. in experimental psychology from the University of Louisville. After she completed her master's degree, her graduate advisor suggested she find another line of work because her heart just wasn't in psychology.
Dazed and a little confused, she checked every career book and help wanted ad she could find and decided that she would, in fact, like to become an editor. Still not completely satisfied to edit other people's writing, Ms. Witty decided it was time to write and publish her own work. Her international bestseller, SHADOWS OF THINGS TO COME was a direct result of this, as were her sweet contemporary romance novella, BELIEVE IN ME, and her historical novel, SUN’S PARTING RAY.
And when the opportunity came to have a short story published in Kathi Macias’s Twelve Days of Christmas series, she took it. Another opportunity soon followed, and she was thrilled to become part of the SAN FRANCISCO WEDDING PLANNER team.

She currently lives in Louisville, KY, with her husband, three cats, and two daughters.


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