I can still remember the first rejection letter I received. I instantly disliked that agent. How could they reject my masterpiece? Were they crazy!?! I would show them! I’d never send them another one of my wonderful works of literary art! HA! They had screwed up big time. They would pay.
Oh boy, was that a long time ago. Over the years, I have learned a few things…no, make that a world of things. The rejection letter is no longer something that causes me to dislike this unknown person and condemn them for their “ignorance.” It has become the best learning tool I have found. I’ve spent God knows how much money on “how to” books and “do this not that” books. None of them have taught me what rejection letters have taught me. With each rejection letter, I get better. I learn something. First of all, I learn that my “masterpiece” may not be the work of literary genius I seem to think it is. Second of all, I realize that maybe I’m not there yet, maybe there is something else I haven’t mastered. I get better each and every time. After enough rejections on a manuscript, I put it away and start on a new one. Amazingly, when I am done and I look back at the one before, I see a vast difference. Suddenly all that was wrong with that previous manuscript is brought to light. I’m actually shocked that I thought that was such a good story. The writing needs work, why hadn’t I seen that before?
The answer is the rejection letters. I read them and I took them to heart. I didn’t get mad and wish the agent who sent it was currently hanging upside down by their toes. Instead, I took it as a tip from a professional, that I wasn’t ready yet. I wonder sometimes if I will ever stop learning or if even Nicholas Sparks and J.K. Rowling still learn something new with each brilliant story they write. I hope the learning never stops. If you embrace that piece of knowledge otherwise known as a rejection letter then you can grow a little more. Just as we are blinded by the love we have for our children, we are often blinded by the love we have for our literary baby. Sometimes, you need a Simon Cowell in your life telling you that your manuscript reminds him of a bad karaoke singer.