The Secret Dreamworld of an Aspiring Author by Anna Bell - Dealing With Rejection
Since becoming a writer, I have become very well versed in rejection. I thought that the years I spent on the dating scene, before I met my husband, had solidified my ability to get knocked down and climb back up again. But as an aspiring author I’ve realised that was merely the tip of the iceberg.
Last week, I got knocked down to the state where I was in a hole. I felt low and sorry for myself. It was one of those occasions where I wondered what the hell I was doing pretending to be an author.
I’d got a critique of a novel back and I’d got a lousy review of ‘Millie and the American Wedding’ on Amazon. As I read them I tried to repeat mantras: ‘get a thick skin’,‘it’s not personal’. But sometimes that is exactly how it feels and before I know it, I’ve descended into a narcissistic mood and it’s like everyone has it in for me.
It was also terrible timing. I’ve quit my job and now I’m having to rely on making my living as a full time writer. Have I made the worst mistake of my life?
But something odd happened. Instead of wallowing in self pity and reaching for the wine, I went for a walk. By the time I’d stomped around for an hour, I decided that I was going to prove, to those that had rejected me that week, that I was a proper writer. And that I could be an amazing writer.
With a chip on my shoulder and something to prove, I closed down the WIP that I was writing at the time. It had not felt right. It felt like I was just writing it with my fingers crossed, hoping that a novel would appear at the end of it. I opened up a blank page and I started to write. The next thing I knew, I’d written past dinner and hadn’t noticed that I’d been sitting in the same spot for three hours. I’d not even reconnected my internet for a sneaky look at twitter. I was that in the zone.
I had a feeling about this chapter. One that I’ve not had about my other novels. I emailed it to my sister and my husband for their opinion. And they thought the same as me: that this was my best writing yet.
Now that I’m a few days past the rejection and gloom of what had got me down. I’ve actually re-read the review and the critique. I’ve started to think about what they actually said, and how they can be useful for the new WIP. I’m sure the person who critiqued my manuscript will be pleased to know I’ve invested in an ‘improve your grammar’ book. And I’m going to make sure that the reviewer who called my debut novel ‘lazy’ and ‘not original enough’ will not be able to say that of the new WIP.
Dealing with knock backs and rejection seems to be an all too regular part of being an aspiring author. But does it make us better writers? Do we actually need to be knocked down to get back up, stronger than before? How do you cope with rejection?