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Monday, March 26, 2012

REJECTED!!!

We have all been there. It canbegin when you are a child, and nobody picks you for their team. That would beme in grade school. At least with theschool teams they let everyone be on the team (that doesn’t mean you played,however). I was on the basketball team(official bench warmer I think). I also played baseball in the summer. Right field. Who really hits a ball to right field? It was the safest place to putme, if they had to play me. Mybrother-in-law even called me aimless, and continued to call me that for anumber of years, after attempting to play catch with me in the front yard. I am a hopeless athlete. Apparently my aim hasn’t improved. Thisweekend at the theater one of the actors was tossing something into thegarbage from the makeup chair. By theway, this is the same garbage can I had been tossing into from where I stood.

Actor: Think I can make it?
Me: Probably
Actor: Well, the bar isn’t settoo high. You miss most the time.

I guess I will never be a great basketball star *sigh*.

I think high school rejection is the worst, usually by way of aboy. He doesn’t like you and you are inlove. Or, you are in love, dating, and he breaks up. You aren’t picked for the musical, didn’tmake the sports team, not on the homecoming court, didn’t make cheerleading, or invited into that oh, so popular group. There are so many ways to be rejected in highschool it is heartbreaking.

By college, you have gained maturity, found friends with likeinterests, moving on with this first taste of freedom. Stupid mistakes are made along with way, buthey, you are in college and entitled. Iactually think those college years are probably the best for being rejectionfree. Well, I am sure there wererejections, but I don’t think it happens as often and some confidence has builtso you can deal with it a little better. At least, I don’t remember a lot ofrejection as I found my place.

All too soon you graduate and rejection starts all over again whilelooking for that job. Or, finding thatjob and being let go.

What if you are an artist (author, painter, actress, etc.)? If you are,you are constantly setting yourself up for rejection. Everyone who is anyone (and even if theyaren’t anyone) will have an opinion with regard to your story, work of art, orperformance. And each time somethingnegative is said it is a knife to your heart. If youare an author, you have been rejected. If you have not, then you have notbothered to submit your manuscript to an agent, publisher or contest. If you have done these things and have notbeen rejected – congratulations, you are in a minority.

So, what does one do when one is rejected? I will tell you. When the rejection comes, whether it is froma break up, losing a job, not getting picked for a team or in a letter from yourdream agent, take a day and do the following. Though most of these ideas comefrom an author’s point of view (my critique partners to be exact), I think theycan all be revised and adapted to fit any scenario. So, this is how to spend the day when youhave been rejected:

Write a letter to the person(s) who rejected you and explain why theymade a poor choice. You should do this on paper or in a wordprocessing program and not in an e-mail, so you don’t accidentally send it. Never, ever send it. This is about making youfeel better, not burning bridges.

Read negative reviews of the books you love. It proves you are not alone.

Turn off the computer and go play with your child or pet or spend timewith people you love and who love you back.

Next, go shopping. Buy stuff foryourself or for others. Buy stuff you don’t need. Be frivolous for a moment and get somethingthat makes you feel good.

Have a good work out, let all the stress and tension go.

Pour a glass of wine and go soak in a hot tub, then have a good cry.

Grab some chocolates on your way to bed, refill your wine glass andcuddle up with your hubby. And, enjoy wherever that leads.

So ends the perfect day of a rejection. Just be sure to wake up tomorrow feeling invigorated and knowing that nomatter what that person said or did, you don’t deserve to be rejected and theperfect place or person for you is right around the corner.

How do you deal with rejection?

26 comments:

  1. I must be growing a thick skin because writerly "rejection" doesn't bother me as much as it did. LOL
    I usually try and shake it off by getting offline for a while and doing things around the house I've been putting off. It helps clear my mind. :)

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  2. Jennifer,
    That is great that you can shake it off. Most of the time I can, but there are still some instances where it stings.

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  3. Amy,

    Great list! It helps to have several ways to deal with rejection. I often fall back on humor. Sometimes joking around with my husband or friends helps when my feelings have been hurt. Watching a funny or intriguing movie gets my mind off things. Sometimes I just feel really determined to show the other person how wrong they are about me and I create a "plan of attack" on paper.

    Probably the hardest rejection was a college break-up. It was the worst! I could barely eat for weeks. My roommate said I cried in my sleep. I made it through by journaling and spending lots of time with friends who would let me talk as much as I needed and knew when it was time to distract me.

    One quick story about my daughter: She was playing a fashion game on the iPad and I guess you get 'a boyfriend', but they may stand you up. When one of the guys she chose stood her up, she said, "Well, he's missing out." LOL. That's my girl!

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    1. Samantha,
      I've never been one to journal. I never saw the appeal, yet a number of people do it. Good for your daughter. Let's hope she keeps that attitude for the rest of her life.

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  4. I am definitely one to turn off the computer and distract myself by hanging out with my family. Somehow, taking the time to play Barbies with my daughter puts it all in perspective. :)

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    1. Lily,

      Playing with Barbies always puts things in perspective. I kinda wish my daughters were younger so we could play with them again.

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  5. There is a reason I have always surrounded myself with books. I distract my feelings with stories, I just use them escape the reality for awhile. If the rejection is really bad then I typically pop in the ipod and go for a really long walk (3-4 miles) it helps to clear my head.

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    1. Misty,

      Good plan on both reading and the long walk. I will have to try the walking next time - as long as I can use an ipod. Otherwise, I think walking without an audio distraction wouldn't be much help.

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  6. Amy ~ So it's not such a guarded secret that I like to take out my revenge...er...deal with rejection by putting a character on the page as a surrogate for whoever has hurt/wronged me. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways.

    (1) I can make the surrogate a villain (The villain of my first book was an amalgamate of two very evil uncles I have; and the villain of my latest is an amalgamate of my ex-husband and ex-boyfriend.)

    (2) I can kill the surrogate. Poison. Bludgeoning. Gun shot. You get the picture. It is sometimes quite therapeutic to kill someone...er...I mean, kill someone OFF. On the page, never in real life. (I do wonder if Quentin Tarantino does this as well. A lot of Marvins meet awful ends in Tarantino films. I don't know who Tarantino's Marvin is - but he better watch is back or ear or whatever.)

    (3) I can make the surrogate a servant or someone even less desirable...cough...like a whore...cough.

    I'm sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with all of this, but there you are. That's how I deal with rejection or just my anger issues. ;) BUT I do *need* villains, people who need killin' and servants/less desirable people in my books for conflict and to make them interesting. So I see it as a win-win.

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    Replies
    1. LOL, Ava!

      In my next book, Harriet tells John, "Literary revenge is the best sort of reprisal." It sounds like you concur.

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    2. Ava that is funny. Remind me not to end on your bad side, I might end up as a whore, lol. This will give me something to look for when I re-read your books. ; )

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    3. Ava,

      I pretty much already knew what your answer was going to be - LOL. And yes, I've done the same.

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    4. Ack!!! Now I know to never make you mad at me, Ava! ;)

      Great blog post Amy!

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  7. I love this list...and I love Ava's additions. LOL. I try not to let it get to me too much. There are plenty of other things in my life that can bog me down, and focusing on something like a rejection isn't going to accomplish much. So instead, I do something to show them what they've missed out on. Get a rejection from an agent? Query two more. That sort of thing.

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    1. Catherine,

      In other words, just keep looking ahead. I like that.

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  8. Love this whole post! I deal with rejection rather well, I just try to remember to keep on trying no matter what it is. I will tell you I am having a hard time dealing with my sons rejections. I feel so bad for them, no matter what it is. When my 14 year old and his 'girlfriend' broke up I felt so sad for him, I didn't know what to do. Same with my youngest who is 12 and dealing with other kids at school. So, I guess I am good with my own rejection and bad with others, that is the one I need to learn to deal with.

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    1. Rhi ~ That is so true. There is nothing worse than watching your kids suffer. My son is 14 too and when a girl broke his heart I wanted to... kill her off in a book. ;) All kidding aside, it was awful to watch his heartbreak. For some reason it is much easier to deal with your own than watch someone you care about deal with it. Good luck! (I need some of that myself!)

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    2. Rhi,

      Nothing, nothing, nothing is worse than when your child is hurt. My kids have had physical injuries and ended up in the hospital, but not even that was worse than when their hearts have been broken, or friends have hurt their feelings, or they've been rejected by a peer group / sports situation. It is horrible because we are helpless to make it better. All the love in the world from a mom is not going to ease the pain friends, girlfriends or boyfriends can cause.

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  9. Great post, Amy! I am NO stranger to rejection. I started performing at the ripe age of 2, and at 29 I went from the performing arts to the written arts. Rejection has been a MAJOR part of my life. I'm so grateful that it hasn't been part of my love life -- I've been very lucky in love :)

    But that's a great list. I think I do most of them in some capacity. Shopping, spending time with my family, drinking and eating myself into oblivion. lol. One person I need to learn from is Ava. Why do I not ever use these people in my stories?!?!?

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    1. LOL. I'm telling you, it's very therapeutic. ;)

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    2. Jerrica,

      It is so much fun to use those who have rejected us in stories. Almost as if a weight is lifted when their scene is done and they have either scrubbed a chamber pot (not that I've used it but I think I will now) or died a horrible death. It just brings a balance to my world - lol.

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  10. I've grown a pretty tough skin over the years but that doesn't mean it doesn't still sting. And I really like Ava's idea about using the people who've hurt you in your next book...hmmm ideas are brewing now. LOL! I think rejection is a part of life and it's how we learn to grow. What is important about rejection is what I tell my kids all the time, it's learning to get back up, brush off your rear, and get back in the saddle. Rejection only lasts for a while but determination lasts for a lifetime. So keep moving forward, ladies. Great post, Amy!

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    1. Suzie,

      That is excellent advice to your kids.

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  11. I don't handle rejection well, so I try not to put myself out there. However, when it does happen I tend to get angry and have to do something. Mainly, I just go to my friends house to vent.

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    1. Melody,

      There is nothing like a good vent to blow off steam. In fact, I think a good vent is the best thing we could do in negative situations. Heaven knows I've done it enough.

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