I’ve been chatting with some writer pals about the big Rs lately. There are all kinds of them: a crit partner doesn’t like your work, an agent says “no thanks”, a publisher gives you the shrug off, or there’s the ever-unpleasant bad review. Without a doubt, they can make you gain five million pounds in peanut butter ice cream weight, cry, or worse, give up on writing altogether. Don’t even think about it! So then what? How do we deal with those hurtful rejections?
Give yourself a break. No one expects you to paste a smile on your face and pretend you aren’t disappointed. Be disappointed. Curl up on the couch and watch a crappy Lifetime movie that makes you cry. Eat a bag of Doritos. Have a scotch. Or three. Do what you need to do, but you only get 24 hours. Then back on the horse.
HASH IT OUT
Call your critique partner(s) and pick apart every single detail of the rejection or bad review. Whine. Complain about how no one gets your work or how every other p.o.s. novel that’s ever been published doesn’t hold a candle to your genius. You get 24 hours. Then back on the horse.
You’re stressed, distressed, depressed. You feel like crap. Dejected. Don’t sit around on your butt and do nothing. DO SOMETHING! Go for a run. Hope on a bike. Play tennis. The harder the better. The endorphins will start pumping. Your mind will clear. You’ll know what TO DO with said manuscript. Or hey, maybe it doesn’t need editing. Maybe person X doesn’t GET your work. That’s okay. Someone will. You get 24 hours to pout. Then back on the horse.
APPLY THE BAND-AID
Lick your ego. Lick your open wounds, then spray that bad boy with Neosporin and patch it up. I have a wise friend who says one rejection/bad review is one less negative you must endure before the golden moment of success. She’s right. Back on the horse!
GO TO THE MATTRESSES
This means WAR! War on your WIP! War on your craft! Take this opportunity to LEARN and GROW. There’s nothing more badass then rising to a challange. They want the POV deeper? They want the pace to move? They want the protag to make them cry? Work it! Ply the verbiage with your savage wordy skills. SHOW THEM WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF. Back on the horse!
Because let’s face it–the winners drag themselves out of the dirt, dust off, and pull their sword from its sheath and shout “Is that all you got? Bring it! I will slaughter this!”