What Donald Trump can teach you writers

Welcome to Monday... I'm rambling a bit in the wee hours of the morning, but I think there's something to be gleaned in here if you'll just bear with and sift through. Also, we're free forming this week, so no weekly topic for everyone, but they can always follow up if they want, I suppose.

So anyway, this one goes out to all the writers out there who are sending out their work or waiting to hear back from and editor or agent on their work.

I'm talking about rejection, folks. It's a natural state for most writers. I know it was for me. When I first moved to Manhattan, I had two choices: be an actor or be a writer. Both promised years of rejection, but ultimately I chose to ditch acting and pursue writing.

Why? Because acting in New York City is a constant and pretty frequent barrage of rejections. Audition, rejection, audition, rejection. Rinse and repeat. In comparison, writing seemed the way to go. Given the slow pace of the industry, I could go long stretches where I didn't actually get rejected. In fact, most of the time I realized I was pretty happy writing in my Fortress of Lassitude. It was the journey, not the destination, of writing which was the positive experience overall. Sure, there was rejection, but those happened in isolated pockets and were slow in coming compared to acting.

I read a lot of blogging hopefuls out there, many of whom keep my updated on their latest rejections, be they personal letters, form letters or the occasional bits of advice worked into their rejections. Now here's the Donald Trump part where I crib from The Apprentice: It's not personal. It's just business.

This is a bitter pill to swallow, folks, I know from my own pained journey. As a writer, you've got the emotional attachment to your work, your precious little snowflake of a child. Every letter kinds hits like someone hasn't chosen your kid to be in the school play or on the soccer team. Of for those of you without kids like me, it's like not having your cat picked for the cover of Cat Fancy or having your pooch chosen for the Purina Dog Show. I digress...

As someone who is not only a writer but works inside the publishing industry, I see the sheer volume of books coming into our house. It's an impossibility to give every rejection that personal touch. Again, it comes down to the reality of business. Chances are your rejection will be rather impersonal, but your personal reaction is all yours, not from a personal slight from people trying to conduct business.

Now, if you haven't hung yourself yet, here's the thing: I take comfort in rejection, and I'm not just saying that as a published author. I have rejections to come, no doubt, so I spend just as much time dreading it as someone unpublished. Still, I take comfort in the fact that yeah, rejection is gonna happen, but what can you do about the rejection itself? Not much, sadly.

Obsessing over rejection keeps you from serving the story, keeps you from writing, and worst of all, keeps you from learning.

So if you get something personal telling you why they rejected you, great. Weigh it, see if it's valid and learn from it.

There's so many ways to get rejected and I have to wonder how much of it is truly about your work because each editors are people, each of them different. Your work might be hated by many, loved by one... and that one is all you need. You hear about it by a billion authors, "I was rejected 50 times before someone bought me" (not me however, I only had three rejections ;P). Same over in that acting field. A lot of what editors tell you varies from editor to editor. I've known people to totally rewrite every last word of their work to appease what one editor said cuz EDITORZ IS GODZ OMG WTF BBQ?!??! and unless there's a somewhat serious offer on the table, don't do that. If you get a consensus of feedback that's all telling you the same thing, consider following the advice, but don't give up everything you believe in of your story to simply appease one editor while you grab for the brass ring.

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