Monday, March 5, 2012

Fear of Rejection! #writing #publishing #rejection #agents

I'm still working on my research for book tie-ins and classroom activities, so that's not today's topic. (I was hoping it would be, but research is research.) Instead, we shall talk of fear *gAsp!* and rejection. *boo! hisss!*

This week I received my second agent rejection of my career's history! (Lame number, I know. There will be more.) And I'm not crying about it. I'm okay with it, actually, and I'm just relieved to know the answer, and to move on to the next agent. So I sent out my second-ever set of postcard mailers to all the awesome publishers out there, refreshed my online portfolio and I started looking for my next target agent.

Why aren't I curled up in a ball, hiding? Some people really and truly get upset, or fear the rejection. For some odd reason, I don't. I get a little anxious and excited and downright buzzed, but I'm not sad or anything. If we aren't a match, then why force it? If it's not meant to be, there's a reason. And also, I've got this reminder on my binder-of-rejections:
I learned this very important lesson from my friend Marlo, teacher, book editor, author, artist, and an overall talented person. She brought in her STACKS of rejection letters and shared them with us in her class. And she told us the more we send out our work and get rejected, the better the chances will be the next time we submit. So that's why I started a binder, and I want to fill it up!

Also this week, my friend Brook posted about self sabotage and procrastination, a prevention of rejection. Except it prevents other things from happening, such as getting your work out there!

And, coincidentally, this amazing tidbit was shared on Facebook among my friends:
Ira Glass quote by Sawyer Hollenshead
Original source can be found here:  

This image led to a conversation about art, naturally:

Friend: "Wow..this really hit home with me and my design work. It's not easy being at the beginning." 
Me:  "Yeah! But it's so true, isn't it? It really helps to be aware of why we feel this way about our work! It isn't easy at the beginning, nor in the middle...and I'm guessing when we're supposed to be a 'pro' I'm betting we'll feel the same way." 
Friend:  "Ya know why it's so hard? Because it's personal. Our passion, our creativity, our ideas, are personal to us. So when there is the fear of those things not being accepted,it is a fear of not being personally accepted. And, it can be enough to paralyze. I deal with beating down the scaredy cat beast every single day." 
Me: "That is SO true! A lot of my friends deal with that too, you know. Because of this fear, many of us procrastinate or decide housework is more important, etc. See my friend's post at: And I'm not saying that I don't also feel this way, but my you know what my BIGGER fear is? People NOT seeing my work, or not seeing me for who I am. I fear more of being forgotten or lost... And if I don't put myself out there I will never be 'immortalized' by my work. My identity is so wrapped around my art and stories that I fear losing it if it isn't shared. Because if I don't share it, I'm just a waitress at a Chinese restaurant. And that is NOT all of who I am!
     Another thing I've learned is that every single one of us creative folk are on a continuous creative JOURNEY. Art is not a destination, really. You're always learning, always improving, always creating something new. I think it's important to look at it that way. Not every piece you make is set in stone. You can go back and fix it. Or toss it and make a new one. It's like an artist's life is a forest, and every once in a while it needs a fire to renew it, and it becomes lush again.
     All successful relationships have ups and downs, but it's sticking together through them that makes them blossom!"

Anyway, I thought the discussions going around this week were very important to the Creatives of the world, and it's good to share and pass along little nuggets of understanding when we find them. So if you've ever blogged, posted, wrote or thought about this topic of fear, rejection, procrastination or self-sabotage, share it with us in the comments box!

Here are a few I found just now:
"The Fast Yes and the Slow No" 
Wordy Birdy's selection of rejection posts:
And words of wisdom from Jane Yolen:


  1. Well said! We should have Fear Week, just like Shark Week, every year! :) Thanks for the shout-out as well!

  2. You're Welcome, Brook! Your post certainly inspired me to write about it! Fear Week sounds like a good idea... when is Shark Week? We should do it then! :D