Rejection 101

Let’s talk about rejection for a minute–or more accurately, how to transform rejection into success.

Wait a minute… Why am I showing you an image of a chair if we’re talking about rejection?  Because you’re going to travel back in time with me to to a class I took my freshman year of college: Art 101! 🙂

We’re now sitting in Art 101: Introduction to Drawing. It’s the first day of class and we’re about to learn how to draw a chair in negative space.

The professor places one of the chairs from the classroom on a table with a lamp behind it.  The lights are dim in the room and the lamp casts long shadows of the chair legs out across the blank paper in front of you.  You’re instructed to shade in with pencil every space you see around the chair until a chair emerges on your paper.  Basically you’re going to spend the next few hours, drawing everything that isn’t a chair.

It’s tedious and exhausting work.  At times you feel like you’re just scribbling on paper.  Does any of it really matter?  More than once you’re tempted to give up.

Then it happens.  You look back down at your paper for the thousandth time, and for the first time you can see it.  Just like that…

You’ve drawn a chair.

Now let’s travel back to today.

You’ve sent out a pile of query emails.  The silence from No response means no cuts you a little bit deeper with every passing day.  The rejection letters – that for some sick reason you keep instead of throwing away – are piling up.  There are fewer and fewer agents and editors out there who are options for your manuscript.

The process of submissions is tedious and exhausting work.  At times you feel like you’re just scribbling on paper.  Does any of it really matter?  More than once you’re tempted to give up.

Then one day, it happens.  You meet someone, or you get an email, or you have a moment of complete clarity.  And for the first time you can see it. You’re going to get the book you’ve written into readers’ hands.  You’re going to share your story. You’ve successfully carved away everywhere you aren’t meant to be.  You’ve eliminated every option that wasn’t meant for you.  And through it all you realize that you now understand what you want.  You have a clearer idea of where you want to go and how you want to get there. And just like that…

You’ve drawn a bright future for yourself.

Never give up on your dreams no matter where you are on your journey.  There will always be blank paper before you.  And paths to success, just like chairs, will always be waiting for us to find them.

Where are you on your journey to success?  Have you carved out what isn’t your path to publication?  Are you carving out what isn’t your path to finding your readership?  Let’s chat about it.

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