Yes, I’ve received my first rejections on my project ‘Get An Agent’ and no, I’m not too disheartened. It was a little stunning getting those first few self addressed stamped envelopes, I had so carefully printed, stamped and placed inside the packages and letters I’d sent. Surreal. I knew without opening them that the answer in all of them was, no. Some of them were so light that I wondered if there was anything in the envelope at all. There was. The smallest slip of paper, politely declining my request. The common response was that they had full client lists and/or the material was not right for them.
I had to wonder though, when they said the material was not right for them, what did that mean, exactly? Was it just a polite way of saying, “Get away from me kid, you’re bothering me” or something else? How could material not be right for an agent? Do they specialize too? Is the world now just full of people who specialize and work in niche markets? It could be, but I couldn’t tell you. All I know is that these folks were either too busy or my material was not ‘right’ for them.
The interesting thing to me was that it didn’t break my heart or make me utter an unintelligible curse in their direction. I expected them. I think you have to expect rejection before you can expect acceptance. Life is like that, isn’t it? You don’t just hop on a bike and zoom down the street, popping wheelies like a pro. Nope. You get on the bike and fall down. And sometimes it’s funny and people laugh at you. But if you want to ride that bike badly enough, you get back on, willing to fall as many times as necessary for you to master it. To get to the goal of zooming down the street and popping wheelies like a pro. Yes, you get right back on the bike and you keep trying until you get there.
But I don’t like the word, trying. Trying implies that your heart isn’t in it. You’re trying to cope. Trying to learn. Trying to make do. Trying to accept rejection. No, I think maybe learning is a better word or just doing. So, this week, I’m doing rejection. I may do it next week again and perhaps even the week after that. Eventually, I’ll get it right.
It feels a little odd to be writing these words and thinking these thoughts because they seem unlike me. I was always a sensitive child and often took things to heart, personally, and would get so discouraged. I was frankly, afraid to even try this because I was afraid I would have that very reaction. Afraid that the Drama Queen would come out and have tantrums and then feel sorry for herself. But the DQ, seems to be happily asleep while I contemplate this new attitude. While I step into this new suit and strut across the room in it. Maybe a few more rejections will coax the Queen out and she’ll have her way with me, but I don’t think so. I think maybe I don’t need her that much anymore. I think that I know what I want and that I’m okay with going after it. Whether it takes days, weeks or years doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
Somewhere along the line, I stopped getting torn up about what people thought of my work. Either they like it or they don’t. Will read it or won’t. It’s always wonderful to get the praise and please a reader but I think that sometimes you learn more from the reader who rejects your work. Whether it’s writing or anything else. If you’re smart and you listen, you will learn things about your work from the naysayers. Maybe how to improve it but more maybe about yourself and what your work really is and isn’t. Who it is for and who it isn’t for. That’s pretty valuable stuff.
I can accept rejection now, I suppose the real question is, can I accept acceptance? Now, there’s an interesting thought.