Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tips from the Tops Thursday - letting go of rejection

I just received my first rejection for True. Well a couple of days ago but I want to talk about rejection.

Tip: breathe it in - breathe it out

Top: me! I'm the tops at rejection. I've experienced a lot of rejection and failure in my life. Why is that you may ask? Because I ask. I fall in love. I dare. I leap. I fly. So I'm refused. I'm let down. I'm humbled. I stumble. I crash. Sometimes I'm granted. I'm reciprocated. I'm raised up. I soar. I kiss the sky. But not the other day.

How it works in my writing life:  I don't like the rejection letter. It is often smug and like a teenage girl, "Sorry, you can't be in our clique - you're just..." and here she wrinkles her darling little nose and sighs. I turn away hoping she doesn't notice that I've pinned up the hem of my skirt with a safety pin. The one I received the other day wasn't like that. It was more steely without any chance that I might bother them for a reason as to why I was turned away. I'm good - I know that they get a gazillion queries a day and they can't be sending off editorial suggestions to every one.  I feel good enough about my piece and mature enough to simply receive 'not our cup of tea' and move on. I have two others out there and also I was pleased that it was so fast - one week!
The other thing is that I kept this baby back for a long time. I don't think I've sent it out prematurely at all and so I think if I just keep sending it out someone will bite.

The technique for letting go of rejection is this: sit quietly somewhere (for me it is my meditation cushion) and let the dark pain of having your piece be rejected come in with your in-breath. Don't deny it access - it'll just find you later. Breathe it in to every pore. As you do this soften to how it feels to be turned away. It hurts whenever it happens even if it is a good thing in the long run. Don't add another layer to your pain by being cold and dismissive to the part of you that feels bad. Breathe it all the way in and when you exhale let it go. Let your rejection out with your exhalation to mix with the world which is full of rejection and acceptance. Remember not to over-identify with your work, or indeed with any aspect of yourself. You are not your manuscript or your beauty or your rawness or your courage. Keep doing this for a while - breathing it in, breathing it out until you can bring it all the way in without little barbs or prickly feelings - until your breath is smooth and even. Oddly this is the same technique for taking in acceptance. Weird eh?


KarenG said...

I don't think it ever gets easier but maybe techniques like this to handle it make it somewhat less painful.

DebraDal said...

Indeed and oh yes it is weird indeed - accepting and rejecting are the same, two sides of the same attachment.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - You are so right about dealing with rejection! It is so important to accept that it hurts and deal with that. Then you can move on. And I like to remember the Buddhist wisdom that "This is only temporary." Rejection is temporary. So is acceptance.

Liza said...

Sometimes I think that not hearing anything is harder then rejection...but that doesn't make either any fun.

Anonymous said...

yes yes yes..

oh thankyou for reminding me..

yes.. *sigh*

Faith Pray said...

Jan, you helped me through my very first round of official rejections. I'm so grateful for your perspective. when I was at my writing conference last month, I got to thinking, "what percentage of my life will actually be published? Because the rest of my life is pretty deliciously happy, so why don't I revel in it and stop worrying about my writing success?"
Hugs to you!