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Dealing With Disappointment

Every author, publisher, and editor will tell you that as a writer, you will get rejections. They tell you not to let it get you down and to keep persevering, but they don't tell you how.

One or two rejections are fine, they aren't overly bothersome. But what happens when you get 50 or 100? No matter how thick your skin is, it starts to wear on you. It makes you question why you're writing and makes you wonder if you're any good. I know, I've been there.

So what do you do? How do you push back the self doubt and silence the inner critics? How do you prove that you're not a hack?

Sadly, there isn't a definitive answer. For me, after a slew of rejections, I re-evaluate the story. I'll rewrite it or, in some cases, I'll just put it away. Not all stories are worthy of being published. If the publisher/editor is kind enough to send notes, I take them into consideration.

I also keep writing. Just because one story doesn't flip anyone's switch, that doesn't mean another won't. I constantly have ideas swarming around my head, so I write them down. That's the perseverance part.

Sometimes, though, you just have to be upset. Sometimes it's OK to throw a little fit, cuss some, and be angry that your story has been rejected 80 thousand times. It's healthy. But don't dwell on it. Give it a little time, mourn it, then let it go. Move onto the next project.

This technique also works when dealing with publishers that don't meet deadlines. Yeah, they picked up your story and want to put it out, but it's taking them forever and they keep pushing the publishing date back. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do here. There is usually a clause in your contract that gives them a year to put the story out.

Sending angry emails doesn't help. Even if it makes you feel better, it's not the best approach. You're just going to piss the publisher off. You just have to be angry about it, mourn it, then move on. Eventually, things will work out. (That's my positive attitude trying to make it all right. It's only kinda working!)

Do you have any special techniques you use to deal with disappointment?