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  • David Richardson

Reinventing Rejection - how to manage expectation and control disappointment



It’s such a negative thing to say, I’ve been rejected. Even saying my novel’s been turned down will still leave you feeling, well… down.


So, how can we reinvent rejection? How can you turn what is (at first appearance) a negative into a positive? It’s best to see the situation as an opportunity.


The time waiting after you’ve submitted your story can be a time of real mixed emotions. Will they/won’t they – want to see more? Send you a contract direct? Offer you a three book deal?


If your dreams are that high, then you’ve got further to fall.


Disappointment Verses Expectation


It’s good to remember that the level of disappointment you feel is directly equal to the level of expectation you have. If you expect a fantastical response that leads to that great publishing or representation deal and it doesn’t happen – the negative feelings will be heavy, overwhelming perhaps.


Whereas, if you don’t expect anything – submitting your work is just part of being a writer, when that desired deal doesn’t happen, then you can carry on regardless.


There was an encouraging blog post from Skylark Literary called The Writing Rollercoaster (click here) where they say that getting rejected ‘can feel like a step backward’ from the goal of getting published. Their solution? Remembering that ‘the most important thing for any writer is that you enjoy the act of writing and you write what you love.’


Submission Update


So how should you react when that – let’s call it a ‘submission update’ email lands in you inbox?

  • ·Go back to the manuscript again and improve it (yes, it’s true – it’s not perfect).

  • · Send your story out to the next agent on your list, or

  • · Begin researching another agent to send it to.

  • · Start another project.

Giving up and feeling sorry for yourself is not the answer. Okay, take a moment or two to mope, but then draw a line under events. Managing your expectations and controlling your disappointment means you can quickly refocus and get writing again.


It isn’t about being rejected, it’s about feeling in control and remaining motivated. So, use that rejecti… sorry, submission update as the opportunity to refocus on tomorrow and keep working.


Doing so means you have reinvented rejection to your advantage.


If you want talk about your next step following a "submission update", please get in touch with me. Details are on The Writing Coach page.

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