Thursday, July 9, 2020

Handling Rejection

This won't be completely new information to those of you who follow me on Instagram, but recently I received a rejection and, the more I think about it and talk with others, the more I feel the need to blog about it. So here it is.

Rejection stinks. 

The fact of the matter is we will all face rejection in our lives. Some perhaps more than others, but what matters is what we do after that rejection. 

If you missed my Instagram post about this you can view it here, but to sump that post up: I received a rejection for my latest proposal from a publisher I had high hopes to publish with. They were very kind in their response and this in no way reflects poorly on them, it's just my response to the rejection that I really wanted to hone in on. 

The Initial Response

I posted on Instagram not to gain sympathy or to have kind people say nice things to me. That was certainly a side benefit, but it wasn't at all what I was aiming to gain from the post. Instead, as I mentioned in that post, I really want to be as transparent as possible with those who 'follow' me on social media. To post about something as personal as a rejection was difficult, but ultimately I wanted it to serve a purpose. To point to a healthy response versus a negative one.

I know many who follow me are seeking a publishing contract for their book or will want to one day. Other's are simply interested in my journey or perhaps just like the photos I take of books *hehe*. Either way, to be vulnerable with my audience, I can't gloss over something that affects me deeply. That, and I thought there were a few things I learned (and am still learning) that could be helpful to hear. 


After the initial post, I found that soooo many people had personal stories of rejection to share with me. They either left comments about this or reached out to me personally. It was SUCH a blessing. I know that might sound odd...but to hear stories from others in similar situations is a comforting thing. We humans like to know we're not alone, right? That we are together in this.

More than that though, it truly hammered home to me what I had been thinking. That initial responses shouldn't dictate future actions. (tweet this) That it's always better to take a step back, breathe, and then come back at a problem. I'll outline the steps that I took below. 

Handling the Rejection 

1. Am I a failure? 

The first thing I had to come to terms with was this question. It's a tough one. One that feels icky to consider, but one that I found to be valuable. Did I fail? In a sense, yes - they didn't like my ideas enough to back me with a contract. But I also think the answer is no. I might have failed at my initial goal, but that doesn't mean I have completely failed. There are still different avenues to explore and opportunities to seek. 

2. What is true? 

When I asked myself this, I came up with one simple answer: I love to write. No matter what, this rejection has not touched that desire at all. If anything, it's strengthened it. During the submission process I came up with some pretty amazing ideas that I will use for future novels (which is a big win!). 

3. What do my writing friends say?

I took it all to my friends. I explained what happened and I was able to gain insight from both published and unpublished friends on what they thought I should do next. While they were all supportive, of course, they also helped me gain perspective. But most importantly - they were there for me. 💛

4. What does God say?

Ultimately, this one is the most important (and I didn't exactly put these in the order that I did them) but what God says matters to me. As I prayed about all of this and took my worries and concerns to Him, I felt nothing but comfort. As if He were reminding me that it's hard now, but He's going to be there working with me for His purposes. And I've said it many times, but I truly believe that His path is always the best path

5. What do I do next? 

I'm a planner, you all know that, so hitting this part of the "post rejection" stage was one of the best parts. It's the time where I look up and see nothing but a blank page ready to be filled with possibilities. No, I don't have all the answers as to what I'll do next, and in some says I'm not even sure I know what is the best thing to do next, but I'm ready to do it. 

Friends, when rejection comes I think it's easy to take it so deeply to heart that we become paralyzed. For a while there after the email I started to think that was it. The disappointment was so thick I thought I was drowning in it...but then, little by little with each of these steps, I began to see the light again. 

Ultimately, there is no end for the writer. There is no stopping. There is no 'finished' because we are people who believe in revision. (tweet this) We believe things get better with critique and refinement. I choose to believe my writing career will do the same. 

Have you faced rejection? How did you handle it? What was the outcome? Where are you now in the process? 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for being so transparent and practical, Emilie! This was me about last August after a string of rejections. It really took some wrestling and turning to God's word to see what He had to say about it. Ultimately, I reached the truth that my self-worth is not in what I do or what others say about me, it's what God did for me and says about me. I am His. He chose me, and He has called me to this writing journey. While I don't know where the road will lead, I just have to keep coming back to that and trusting Him. Praying for you as you look toward the next steps.