Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rejection: How Easily Do You Bounce Back?

This morning a freelance writer on Twitter that I follow mentioned she had just received a rejection email this morning. Sometimes I am surprised by how easily emotions can be detected through online communication. Usually it's so easy to misconstrue the meaning behind a digital message, but I could easily sense the heavy disappointment the writer was feeling through her 140 character tweet.

Why don't they like me?

I'm familiar with getting magazine query rejections – all too familiar. But I realize as a copywriter that rejection is just part of the business. You pitch a query to a prospect and they either jump on board or they don't. It's nothing personal if they decide I'm not the right person. They don't know me from Adam. It used to bother me a little, but once I internalized this fact, it stopped. Now I just move on to conquer the next opportunity.

I learned to do this in my corporate position a newspaper advertising sales rep. At first the rejections from prospects were practically immobilizing. Eventually, I realized it was mostly a numbers game. If I stopped to wallow in hurt feelings too long, I'd miss out an opportunity. The same logic can be applied to finding freelance writing clients and responding to writing job offers.

Can't stop, won't stop

I know it's a lot easier said than done, but you can't allow rejection to stump you. Sure, allow yourself to feel disappointed. There may be times when a good cry is in order. But get some perspective on the situation as soon as possible. Rejection is a part of the freelance writing business. How do you handle rejection as a freelance writer?

5 comments:

Devon Ellington said...

It still bothers me more in fiction than in non-fiction.

However, the best way I find to deal with it is to create my list of potential markets before I send out the first query. If something goes back, it goes out immediately to the next market on the list.

In the meantime, I'm working on something else and have achieved some distance, so it's less personal.

Let's face it, do we really want to place the piece in the WRONG spot? In the big picture, I'd rather get a rejection from the wrong market and keep searching until the right market, although in the moment, rejection still rankles.

Kimberly Ben said...

Devon, you've made a good point when you distinguish rejection from your fiction writing versus rejection from non-fiction writing. I agree - for me the sting of rejection from my magazine queries can linger a bit while I easily dust myself off and keep going when it comes to copywriting/web writing clients.

You're also right about the importance of making sure a piece gets laced in the right market. A rejection from the wrong market can be a blessing in disguise.

Lori said...

I don't think I get emotionally upset about the nonfiction stuff at all. I learned long ago to just accept it, put a pox on the rejecter, and move on. ;))

Seriously, if you separate business from ego, it should be a no-brainer. With fiction, totally different story. Your emotion and ego is all over that manuscript. Tougher to put the crowbar between!

Matt Mernagh said...

developing relationships with editors eases the shock of rejection. a working rapport is great. the first time relationship though is like a job interview. and the rejection is like not getting the job. with all queries the goal is long term writing relationship, right?

Kimberly Ben said...

To: Matt Mernagh,

I keep trying to publish your comments to my blog, but for some odd reason they don't show up. I need to troubleshoot this... You said:

"developing relationships with editors eases the shock of rejection. a working rapport is great. the first time relationship though is like a job interview. and the rejection is like not getting the job. with all queries the goal is long term writing relationship, right?"

I think you are SO right. Thanks for stopping by.:)

 
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