Failing Upward, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Rejection

Hey, everyone. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a writer. You probably saw my link on Twitter and decided to click it. Maybe you saw the title and said to yourself: How the hell can this rando on the internet teach me out to love rejection?

Well, I can’t.

I can’t teach you how to love rejection but I can speak to my own experiences with rejection. I like to think I’m pretty good at it. Being rejected, that is. I don’t say this to gain your sympathy. It’s a simple fact.

one fear
By One Fear, I mean all of them.

If you’re a writer and you want to be traditionally published, you’re going to get rejected.

You’re going to get rejected so much and it ALWAYS sucks. Believe me, as someone with clinically diagnosed social anxiety and a myriad of issues stemming from my need to control everything and be perfect, I know how bad it feels. Between being rejected by dozens of agents through four different manuscripts to not getting into Pitch Wars, there are times when I want to give up. A lot of times.

Like, 67.5% of the time.

But then, after many years of trying and trying and getting nowhere, I realized something.

Failing is not exclusive to me.

No matter how much I think it, it’s just…not.

Being rejected hurts, but no matter what your anxiety tells you, YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO FAILS. I use the word “fail” so liberally here because I need it. I need to accept that failure is fine. My reaction to it is the only thing I can control.

As the deadline to Author Mentor Match approaches, there’s a part of me thinking: It’s not you. You are never going to be picked because it’s never you.

And it might not be me. It might not be you reading this, either.

Or it might be.

Imagine that for a second. You could be picked for AMM. I could be picked for AMM. It could happen!  If it does, great! Amazing! If it doesn’t, boo! That sucks SO MUCH. Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Get sad. Get mad. Get smad, even.

But perhaps the most valuable thing I’ve learned from my PitchWars experience and my many (many) agent rejections is this: Life goes on.

The day after PW was sad for me. The night the mentees were picked was sad for me. But, you know what? Life still went on. I still kept writing and the world did not end. Neither did my career.

Nothing ended, you see?

I know it’s really easy to let your fear and anxiety get the better of you–I’m on anti-anxiety meds and got to therapy, so, like, I GET IT–but please, please, please try to remember that the sun comes up the next day. Ut always does.  You still get to feel sad about being rejected, you still get to be devastated, even.

Allow yourself to feel your feelings.

Give yourself however much time you need.

And stop telling yourself it could never be you.

Because, one day, it might be.

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