Coping With Rejection
As anyone in any creative field can attest, facing and coping with rejection is endemic to the job. I’ve been fired, laid off, dumped, turned down and ignored umpteen times.
From grades four to seven, I was madly in love with J.H. but he didn’t give me a second glance. In high school, I was always picked last in gym and even though I tried out, I never made it onto a single sports team.
After graduating, I entered the rejection big leagues. I tried my hand at both modelling and acting. In both of these professions, rejection is something you swallow daily.
When Anna and I were pitching our shows, we faced many more noes than yeses. Being rejected for your ideas isn’t fun, but guess what? Don’t like that idea? Here’s another one.
Most recently, I’ve been facing rejection for my writing. This one really stings as it feels the most personal. You put so much time and a piece of yourself into your work.
Of course, there have been many wonderful successes along the way, but this isn’t about that. It’s about getting through the other times, the times that really SUCK. Here’s what I do, attempt at your own risk:
1. Cry. Or scream. Or throw things. Or whatever it is you do. Don’t fight the down. If you do, it will just come bubbling up later. And at some point you will run out of tears or tantrums.
2. Call someone. Not the “it will all be okay” person. Call the person who will commiserate and tell you yes, life is hard. You don’t need platitudes you need empathy.
3. Treat Yourself. You’ve heard enough noes, now say yes, to yourself. Ice cream, a hot bath, a new purse. Whatever. Here’s my “got rejected by another book agent” purse. (Silver lining!)
4. Do something physical that gets you out of your head. I like to go to the gym for a circuit class. It’s intense and I become immersed in the physicality of it. For a whole hour I forget to feel sorry for myself.
5. Have a drink. You won’t see this one in most self-help books and clearly, it’s not for everyone. I don’t mean copious amounts because you’ll just feel extra sh$#*y in the morning, but enough to take the edge off. And by this point, you probably have more edges than a nonagon.
6. Critically re-evaluate the situation. (Do this one the next day.) Take a good long look at your latest rejection. Could you have done something differently? Did you learn anything from the experience? Or are you simply never going to be Paulina Porizkova? It’s time to be honest. In my current case, I know I need to do some work on the book, it isn’t quite there yet.
7. Keep on trucking. Is there any other viable option?