Friday, August 22, 2008

Do Rejections Fuel You or Paralyze You?

Tip of the Day: Don’t forget to check back next week! We’ll be giving away books all week long.

As you probably know, this weekend, the Olympics wrap up. Many of us watched Michael Phelps (MP), in awe of his talent and, at times, amazing luck (he won by 1/100th of a second in one of the races).

Bob Costas made an interesting comment to MP during an interview at the end of his races. Bob said something like, you remind me of Michael Jordan in the way you take what people say and use that as inspiration and push yourself harder. And MP admitted it was true. He said, (I’m paraphrasing here), Yeah, I welcome comments because when I hear someone say something about me, that I can’t do it or whatever, it does push me to work harder.

It made me think about the drawer full of rejections I have and if I ever felt that way after getting one. And I don’t know that I thought it consciously like, “By gosh, I’ll show you, you high-and-mighty editor who wouldn’t know a good story if it hit you along side of your face.” But in some ways, I do think those letters fueled me on. Like the more I got, the more I felt the need to prove myself. Maybe I wanted to show the world it wasn’t impossible, if I just kept working hard and kept on trying.

I’ve heard of some writers being paralyzed after getting a rejection letter. And I understand, sometimes they sting. But I think Michael Phelps can teach us writers a thing or two. Don’t like what someone has to say about your writing? Dig in, dig deep, and do better!

What do you think? Easier said than done? Or can those rejection letters be used in a positive way?

~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I’m Pubbed


Tabitha said...

Hmm, good question. For me, the answer is neither.

I look for useful comments in rejections. Sometimes they're there, sometimes not. If they're there, I pull them out and study them. If it's just a form, then I toss it into the pile and think to myself "not helpful; moving on..." :)

Emily Marshall said...

This is a good question, Lisa. I think they can do both for me. Just recently I got a positive rejection that reassured me I'm fairly close. Other times I want to prove people wrong, and then other times there feels like so many of them that it's overwhelming and you think you lack talent and want to quit.

Often there's no rhyme or reason to what one rejection will make you feel. I think alot depends on your mood, how you let it affect you, and how you keep yourself busy outside of writing and get satisfaction in other ways.

Kate Fall said...

Cool, Emily, I love good rejections!

I've never been fueled to prove someone wrong. But some comments have made me think, "well, OK, I can learn to do that better." After an appropriate period of mourning, of course.

Kristina Springer said...

Oooh good question. I'm not sure if every rejection letter fueled me-- some did make me mad or sad etc. But I do get fueled from people telling me no. The last rejection on Espresso right before the two agent offers I was like Oh yeah?! And totally ready to show this person. :-) Even in high school my guidance counselor told me I wasn't smart enough to go to college and should consider becoming a secretary. I told him something along the lines of flip off and then went straight to college and even taught at a university for 6 years.

DeenaML said...

Lisa, I SO use rejections as fuel. I don't give up. When I say I'm going to do something (publish a book), I won't quit til I do it. So if I get a rejection, yes, I say, "One place down, how many more to try?" and I send it out again.

Sure, sometimes it can sting, but I always keep on submitting.