by Kristine Coblitz
I recently wrote an article for a local magazine about kids and tryouts. The article explored the unusual rise in the number of students participating in sports and school activities and questioned if the reason for this increase is because more kids are interested or because coaches and teachers have a difficult time turning kids away in fear of how rejection will influence their self esteem.
I didn’t get a definitive answer to my question, but I did get some positive feedback about the importance of rejection for teenagers. In writing the article, I wondered about how this advice could apply to writers and how rejection from agents, editors and readers influences self-esteem. Are the feelings that teenagers experience when cut from the soccer team or school musical really any different from what we as adult writers feel when we get a rejection letter to our query letter or when our novel isn’t picked up by a publishing house?
Rejection is a part of life. We can’t change or control it. What we can change, however, is our reaction to rejection. How we deal with it says a lot about who we are.
I like to think I’ve matured a bit in how I deal with rejection. In the beginning of my writing career, I took every form rejection letter to heart. They were blows to my ego. Now, I’ve become a bit wiser (thankfully) in my perception of the publishing business and take them all in stride.
So what did the coaches and teachers have to say when I asked them about rejection? They told me it’s all part of the journey and that you can’t have success without experiencing at least a few setbacks along the way. They also told me that you can’t expect confidence to come from another person. It comes from accepting the person you really are, being okay with your skills and abilities, and having the drive to become even better.
For some of us, the journey never ends.