In any business, rejections are a fact of life. You’re going to hear the word no. You may be offering the best, most fantastic product in the world that Joe Smith desperately needs, yet Joe may say no anyways. If you’re a writer? Well, you may have pitched the best article idea ever to the editor of Awesome People Magazine. It was timely, it was flawless and it was perfect for the demographic. Guess what? The editor may very well tell you “no thanks.”
Rejections will happen but you cannot take them personally. Here are a few reasons that you should learn to love the no.
1. A rejection means you’re doing the work your business requires. You’re putting yourself out there and letting people know who you are and what you can do. If you’re NOT getting rejected you’re likely not getting an adequate number of pitches out. (Granted, maybe you ARE one of the lucky writers that have never been turned down. In which case I can only say “carry on.”
2. Rejections give you some insight into what your weaknesses may be or what adjustments you need to make to your pitches and/or article submissions. Be sure to ask for feedback when you a pitch is turned down. Feedback is critical to improvement. There will be pitches that you send where you get no response at all. In these cases maybe take a look at them and see if you see a pattern and can determine some areas that may be weak. Ask a writer or editor friend if they would mind giving you some feedback.
3. Rejections help you narrow your list of potential clients. You’re able to rule out who you may not want to work with going forward. How an editor responds to you can determine if this is the type of person that you truly want to work with. A rejection from one editor may make you available for an even better project with another.
4. Every rejection brings you one step closer to your goal. With each pitch you are perfecting technique, putting in the necessary practice hours to improve and become the best writer you can be. There will be a better opportunity around the corner.
With every rejection, remind yourself you’re in good company. You’ll be hard pressed to find a successful person that has not dealt with rejection. Take a look at some of these well known “rejects”:
l Walt Disney was told he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
l Elvis Presley was told by a manager after a performance at the Grand Ole Opry that he should return to his job of truck driving and had no future in music.
l Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times before he entered a different school and went on to become a director.
l Stephen King’s first book, Carrie was rejected 33 times. In his frustration he threw the manuscript away. His wife dug through the trash, found it and convinced him to give it one more try.
l Michael Jordan, who was cut from his high school basketball team once said “I have missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I have missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Rejection is part of the equation that leads to success. So now, you know what you need to do, right? Figure out what your next pitch is. Pick up that pen, grab your laptop and start writing. Then hit “send.”
Start collecting those rejections proudly and know that the more you get the closer you are to the big yes!
What great rejection stories do you have? I would love to “celebrate the no’s” with each of you. Be sure to share here.
Christy Mossburg is a freelance writer & copywriter from Middletown, MD where she lives with her husband and two teen-age children. You can read more of her musings on life at www.simplychristy.com or check out her writer website at www.christymossburg.com.