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The Protection of Rejection

Well, it happened…my very first query rejection. 


Statistically, I knew it was coming. But I think every writer (and every creative in general) hopes that they might be the exception to the rule, that their piece will be the one to shatter the publishing world with its new voice and profound message. We hope that our book will be the one that every agent has been scrounging their inbox for, waiting for the magical day when we finally present it to them with a heavenly beam of golden, sparkling light. 


After months–years, even–spent agonizing over every detail, preparing your pitch, and polishing your work to the nines, one short, impersonal email that boils down to “no” can be crushing for the soul. 


I don’t write this for sympathy; rather, I write it because I know I am far from alone. 


I thought I was prepared. I truly believed I would be just fine. 


But as I stared at the short paragraph that led to a dead end, I couldn’t help but focus on the lack of road ahead. 


It’s just one street…just one turn-off. But when it consumes your vision, the tunnel closes and you wonder…is there any way forward?


For minutes, hours, or even days following, you debate whether there’s any point in continuing to pursue this book. You wonder if anyone will see the value in it, the heart that you poured into it. You wonder if perhaps you’ve made a mistake and misheard your passion and purpose. (Is it just me? Am I simply the dramatic one here?)


You cry it out, and the world collapses. 


And then you get back up and start writing again. 


You send another query. You edit your pitch. You fine-tune the wording in your synopsis. You go over your book again and again to ensure the highest level possible. 


Because that’s what a writer does. 


There will be more rejections. You know it’s going to be hard. But you know that there is nothing else in this world that you would rather do than share your stories with others. 


And one day, you will. 


As I’ve reminded myself again and again, the rejections are protections. They aren’t dead ends, they are guardrails. They keep you on the path that’s meant for you and away from those that aren’t. 


Just as you don’t want to trespass on someone else’s property, you don’t want to take a place that was meant for someone else. You don’t want to push your way into something when a different path–a better path–waits for you further ahead. 


Not everyone will love your work (shocking, I know!). But someone will. And the rejections help get you where you need to go.


So congratulations on the new guardrails, my fellow rejected friends…they’re looking great on you! 


Keep it up, and keep moving forward. One day, you’ll get to share all of your brilliant creations with others. One day, you’ll get to look at all of the rejections with gratitude. One day, you’ll stand in front of a crowd and share about that first time you got rejected, how everything crashed around you, and how you still made it out better than before. 


Keep calm, carry on, and pick up that pen once more…you have work to do!

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