As grown-ups, we all know that it is only children who get upset and cry when things don’t go their way. Big people, on the contrary, approach their setbacks with a stoical shrug, before moving on with their lives and never looking back.
No one likes rejection of any kind. I don’t care how old you are, it sucks. Adults may be more adept at masking their true feelings, but they are still there. The best you can hope for is that you become so used to rejection that you become somewhat emotionally inured to the whole thing.
I appreciate how that sounds: I am suggesting rejection is good for you. But if you ever want to make a career out of freelance writing or any other art, then, initially at least, you’d better learn to love it.
Rejection is the submerged stepping stone in that river you need to cross. Most of those stones are submerged and you’re going to get uncomfortably cold and wet as you progress, but you need to find them if you are to reach the ones that are high and dry, and thus further your trip to the other side.
Remember also that no one is rejected all the time. Don’t take my word for it; look at the amount of duff writing out there that someone paid for. It should have been rejected but it wasn’t. Take heart that your skills are better than that and so your chances of success are inevitably higher.
I have lost count of how many times I have been professionally rejected. Most of those rejections happened as an actor rather than a freelance writer, and in many cases the stakes in terms of money and notoriety were far greater than with the writing. Every rejection upset me, but I kept on going. And I found that each rejection upset me a little less because I was not so surprised.
You also might not be missing out as much as you think you are. Don’t let the negatives cloud the truth. Towards the end of my acting career I asked my agent what a good success rate might be in interview. He said 1 out of 10 would be about average. I had been hitting 1 out of 3 or 4 for nearly 20 years. My problem was a lack of interviews. In freelance writing, there are not the same obstacles between you and your potential clients. You can make your own introductions.
The trick, though, is more difficult than just getting used to rejection. What’s essential is that you don’t allow each rejection to increase your feelings of DEjection. Dejection carries across in your work. It steals the spark from it. It robs you of your belief that this time the outcome will be different. Dejection is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Try not to take it personally when you fail to secure a freelance writing project. You have no idea what machinations contrived to draw it away from you. In our current economy, it may simply be that you asked for a living wage and the other guy didn’t.
Above all, remember that freelance writing is your choice. You weren’t conscripted against your will. You were assuredly lured in by all that you believed this career had to offer, but no promises were ever made to you and you can leave whenever you want.