The blessing of rejection

Today I have the privilege and honor to introduce Erin Feldman. She graciously accepted an open invitation to my ghost-in-the post series. You can find Erin at http://www.factotumep.com. She is a very interesting and entertaining writer; it is certainly worth your time to pay her a visit. Also, please take the time to enjoy her post and feel free to leave comments as well.

When I’m not writing web copy, authoring blog posts, or consulting with clients, I write poetry. No, it’s not the poetry found in high school diaries. I’m not sure what kind of poetry it is, but it isn’t that. Poetry is serious stuff in my world. It’s something to be written, studied, and critiqued, which is something I did in grad school and continue to do.

Although I’m serious about poetry, I haven’t been too dedicated about getting my work published. My attitude changed this year, and I’ve decided I need to live up to my “poet” status. I’m more than a little concerned about that decision; I know the costs of making it. Submitting work is hard, not only because of the time spent writing, editing, and selecting poems but also because of those dreadful things known as rejection letters.

Rejection letters hurt, although not as much as they once did. I suppose I’ve matured some since receiving my first one. I’ve learned things about myself and developed coping mechanisms. For instance, even though I’m a writer, that’s only one component of my identity. If that part of me is rejected for one reason or another, I can recoup. I can write again.

I also refuse to dwell on the question of what I did wrong despite my proclivity to do so. The truth is that I might not have not done anything wrong. Writing is such a subjective thing that rejection is to be expected. My writing isn’t going to please everyone, and it’s foolish to try. I would lose myself in such an enterprise.

I choose to have a sense of humor about the letters, too. Most of the time, they’re generic form letters so filled with “fluff” that I wonder if I’m supposed to take them seriously. My most recent rejection letter almost was a page long. Why? The editors could have told me in three to five sentences what they told me in three to five paragraphs. Do they truly think people read lengthy rejection letters? Do they believe that extraneous words will make people feel better about being rejected and about themselves? Once I’ve been informed that my submission has been rejected, I rarely read the rest of the letter. My work has been rejected, and, despite my efforts to separate the writing from myself, I’ve been rejected, too. I’m going to feel dejected. I’m not going to be in the mood to read a lengthy missive that attempts to make me feel better about myself.

I wish the lessons learned from receiving rejection letters translated easily into other areas of life. It’s one thing to have my writing rejected; it’s another to be rejected – often without rhyme or reason – by another person. It’s much harder not to dwell on the “what did I do wrong” question. It’s next to impossible to have a sense of humor about the rejection. The identity issue is much more problematic. I have been rejected, not my writing, not a business proposal. All of that is true, and yet, the possible responses to that rejection are the same: I can indulge my hurt feelings – and I might do that for a while – or I can dust myself off and try again.

How do you deal with rejection? Is it easier to be rejected in one area of life than another? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Erin Feldman is the CEO and founder of factotum llc., a company that provides social media consultation and writing and editing services for websites, blogs, and social networks. When she isn’t busy with either of those two things, she’s pondering new ideas for her own blog, which usually involves some sort of collision between literature, writing, entrepreneurship, and social media; writing poetry; or drawing. Erin has her MFA in creative writing and her BA in English and graphic design. 

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146 thoughts on “The blessing of rejection

  1. Hey Erin,
    Rejection of any kind used to throw me for a loop. Now I see that there really is a story behind the choices that people, companies, critics, and even social media follower/unfollowers make. And since I’ll never walk in their shoes and be privy to the ‘why” of the rejection (unless I’m bold enough to ask) I move on with my projects and relationships that I find fulfilling.
    I do appreciate any constructive criticism if it can help me to learn and improve coupled WITH the rejection. But when it comes to relationships, sometimes there’s so little common ground that there’s no need to know.
    Thanks Erin! And Bill.
    Betsy

    • Hey Betsy, you make a good point about moving on with projects and relationships you find fulfilling. Sometimes we pay too much attention as to what others are doing and start ‘wanting’. That breeds jealousy and an unhealthy attitude.

      The other thing about not walking in someone else’s shoes, you might think you know what is going on and why they did something but you really don’t. You might be close, but most times you don’t know ‘the rest of the story’.

      I too would rather have constructive criticism than just not knowing, hence some of my posts asking some ‘why’ questions. Ultimately if we just take care of our own stuff every thing else should work out, right?

      Good to see you and thanks for dropping by to pay Erin a visit.

    • Hi Betsy,

      Thanks for leaving a comment! You’re right about the “why.” That’s something I’ll never know unless I’m brave enough to ask (not likely), so it is best to move forward with other projects and relationships. I, too, appreciate constructive criticism. It’s the only way to keep growing, right?

      Cheers!
      Erin

      • It’s not easy, but I have learned to ask the hard questions; the ones you think you know what the answer will be but maybe don’t want to hear it. By doing so, it saves a lot of wasted time however………..

      • Hi Wilson,

        I’m glad you’re enjoying the discussion. It has been and is great fun. I agree completely that nothing worth trying is ever easy to do. I like to be challenged, though. If it’s too easy, I get bored. 🙂

        Erin

  2. Hello Erin and welcome to my humble abode. I do appreciate you taking the time to stop by so I will let you take center stage today.

    I’m in front line outside sales; so I hear ‘no’ enough or ‘we have decided to go in another direction’ which always makes me contemplative and wondering ‘was it me’? Did they not like me? Most of the times it is not personal and for whatever reason it was not a good fit or there were other extraneous reasons we would not be doing business.

    Online has been fickle enough I have maybe not felt rejected, but ignored to a certain degree which can be the same thing in my mind. It has caused me to write some silly posts as well but once I write them, it usually gives me the proper perspective and I can go back to being normal (ok, normal for me………).

    I would imagine submitting your writings would be similar to me making sales calls; you will hear a lot more ‘no’s’ than ‘yes’s’ and you have to have a thick enough skin to know maybe today just wasn’t the day for the stars to be aligned.

    I appreciate you sharing this and I think my readers will be able to get something out of this on both a professional and personal level.

    • Thanks, Bill, for the comment and for letting me share the post on your blog.

      Comparing writing submissions to sales calls is a great analogy. You will hear “no” much more often than “yes.” Perhaps that’s part of the reason I always feel a sense of wonder when I do hear “yes.”

      Who needs to be normal? Being slightly odd is much more fun. I think it is anyway. 🙂

      Erin

      • Of course, being the internal optimist glass half full kind of guy; no really means maybe, right. At least that is what I was telling myself every time I got turned down for a dance or a date back in the day, huh?

      • I think I’m guilty of the “no” means “maybe” thinking, too. I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, Jens ended up with his wife of twenty years because he didn’t take “no” for an answer. 🙂

      • Erin, great post! I read it this morning but didn’t have time to comment, and what I was thinking was exactly what Bill said. It’s basically cold call sales. Granted, it’s much more personal, because it is artistic. But the feelings of rejection are similar.

        And if you can depersonalize it (some), adopting a sales mindset could really help. Because we will always hear no more than yes.

        Also I agree with Tammi below, the rejections are more often about suitability for someone’s needs than about the quality of the work.

      • Hi Adam,

        Thanks for coming back to leave a comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It’s funny how sales and art can help each other. I guess it’s a good thing I have experience with both. I never had to do much cold calling, but I did have to sell shoes…oh, and hardware. I worked in a hardware store for a while. That was one of the strangest jobs I’ve ever had.

      • It’s funny, my cheap ass site throws these comments all over the place and half don’t have a reply button on them so I have to go back up the stream far enough to find one…………oh well.

        If you haven’t done so, I would suggest going to the Blog Soup pingback below because Stan Faryna kind of left of comment but it’s in that pingback. I thought it was a good one you might like however.

      • Haha! I’ve been doing the same thing with the reply button on your site. Oh, well, it works. We’ve still got a great conversation happening. At least, I think it’s a great conversation. I’m going to go look for the pingback on Blog Soup now. 🙂

      • Hi Erin. This was agreat post. Thanks for helping out DorkMan. Regarding your comment below about criticism. Sometimes we can take what people say and use it to grow. Most of the time, if it is negative, I try to use one of my old favorites, I heard awhile back.

        “What other people think about me is none of my business”

        Ignore it. Be You. Be Genuine. You are Awesome !

        Al

      • Hi Al,

        Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It was a pleasure to write it. I like your quote. It’s true – why worry about what other people are thinking about me? It’s a waste of time to worry or, for that matter, to compare myself to others. I suppose it’s a little different when it’s a relationship at stake; I would assume you’d want to know what the other person’s thinking. When it comes to writing and professional life, I’m right with you. Grow where I can and ignore the unfounded negativity.

        Erin

  3. Hi Erin, Wow, your post really touched me. I agree with you, the toughest part of submitting your writing is the fear of receiving a rejection letter.

    I have taken many writing classes and one of them covered rejection letters. The teacher said there are four things that can happen when you submit your writing: You hear nothing back, you get a standard rejection letter, you get a personal rejection letter or you get your work accepted.

    He stressed that a personal rejection letter was a truly great thing. That meant that someone took the time to care about your work and offer suggestions for improvement. Take it to heart and consider what was said.

    There are authors whose works were repeatedly rejected by publishers and went on to great success publishing on Amazon’s Kindle (J.A. Konrath is one such author).

    If the publishers get you down, consider publishing your works as a Kindle ebook.

    So, Erin, focus on the positive, read the suggestions in your personal rejection letters and consider the Kindle!

    Thanks, Bill, for having this wonderful guest author post on your blog. I am delighted to have discovered Erin’s work!

    • True story, Danny Brown asked me to Guest Post which I thought was pretty cool. However, after seeing two superb GP’s from Sean McGinnis and Margie Clayman I’m thinking there is ‘no way’ I can follow this. I mean not only are they off the charts smart, they are incredibly talented writers as well. I submitted 3 different ones to Danny and before they even had a chance to sit in his in-box I pulled the plug on all 3; I fired myself. Eventually I modified one of the three and it was presentable but I really had my doubts. When I didn’t get positive affirmation from him right away in my mind that was a rejection and felt like I needed to pick up my game. In reality I should have just been patient and Danny would have told me if it was worthy or not.

      Hey, Jill Konrath is in my reader; she’s a spark plug and does a great job.

      I think the goal is to keep growing and improving, be willing to listen to constructive criticism, and just do the best you can; that’s all we can do, huh?

      Thanks for coming by to say hello to Erin today.

      • Spot on: “I think the goal is to keep growing and improving, be willing to listen to constructive criticism, and just do the best you can.” I think I need to have another conversation with my perfectionism.

    • I agree that personal rejection letters are the best. They’re easier to swallow because an actual person took the time to reply to you. I like them because they usually provide some direction.

      Thanks for taking the time to read the post!

      Erin

      • Exactly. It usually has a better intention behind it, too. Your analogy is making me think of martial arts days. Sure, you got whacked in the head a few times, but you eventually learned to block or duck. You started to get better, and, suddenly, you’re the one whacking somebody in the head. Hmm. Is that too violent?

  4. I agree you have to understand that a writing rejection is a subjective assessment of a work’s suitability to a particular purpose, rather than a negative message about your abilities. Personal rejection is tougher to understand.

    I like to remember something Jack Canfield says to keep in mind when someone tells you “no.” SWSWSWSW – Some will. Some won’t. So what? Someone’s waiting.

    It’s kind of like fitting pieces in a puzzle. You might get aggravated that a piece didn’t fit where you first thought it would, but when you find where it does fit, you will know it shouldn’t have been any other way.

    • Personal rejection can also be a subjective assessment of a person’s suitability to a particular purpose, don’t you think?

      I don’t think anybody wants to hear ‘you suck’. Now you might tell yourself that because you are much more critical of yourself than others might be; be rejection in any form might be taken as hearing those exact words. What do you mean I’m not worthy?

      A lot of times it has to be taken in context; kept in perspective to truly be objective. That doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt or you start questioning yourself but your reaction to it will go a long ways in maintaining a healthy balance with it. I’ve had to do that because I don’t have a ‘win’ with every sales opportunity I have; that’s just the nature of my business.

      Thanks for coming by Tammi and saying hi to Erin; very much appreciated.

      • Aah! The criticism thing. I think that’s where I struggle the most. 🙂

        The reaction to rejection is crucial. It’s easy to tailspin if the reaction is the incorrect one. It’s better to react in such a way that you become a better and stronger person.

    • Hi Tammy,

      I’m with Kaarina – the SWSWSWSW is awesome! I also like your metaphor of the puzzle. That’s a good way to look at things. It’s true, too. I have entirely too many stories where that has been the case – something seemingly bad turned out to be a good thing. I need to try to remember that.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Erin

  5. Rejection. Hmmmm. I know that rejection can throw some for a loop but I’ve always been of the opinion that rejection is only “no” in that moment. It could be “yes” at a later date; it could still be “no” at a later date.

    I believe that a lot of how one reacts to rejection has to do with self-esteem. What I mean by that is that the sooner one acknowldged that not everyone is the same and that each of us has wonderful things to share as individuals, the easier it is to accept rejection and to not take it personally.

    Now you might think that I’ve never really had to deal with rejection. Not so. As a professional in the Arts, I can tell you that for over 30 years, I’ve dealt with my fair share of rejection in the professional arena. That’s the nature of the Arts industry; only a very few actually make it to the top of the ladder. And as a parent, I can tell you that being a single parent of a child with multiple disabilities including an autism spectrum disorder and an incurable, life-threatening neuromuscular autoimmune disease that strikes 2 in 1 million kids, there’s been a lot of rejection from those in society who don’t understand the manner in which disabilities can sometimes present themselves. In the end, however, because I’m secure in the knowledge that what I am doing is correct for me (professionally) or me and my child (personally), rejection isn’t a personal affront.

    What I find to be a helpful exercise is to consider if there is any validity in the comments accompanying the rejection. If there isn’t, then the rejection is just another person’s opinion to which they are entitled. No harm, no foul. If there is some validity in the comments accompanying the rejection, then it’s up to me to determine if there is sufficient validity to warrant tweaking that which has been addressed in the comments accompanying the rejection.

    I know of others in the Arts industry or who are raising special needs children who react likewise when it comes to rejection. Maybe it’s because we’ve have to adapt quickly in certain situations and we’ve continued to carry that black-and-white approach with us into other situations. Maybe it’s just because that’s how we are by nature. Maybe it’s because of other factors of which I haven’t been made aware yet. Who knows?

    Rejection says more about the person doing the rejection, though, than it says about the person on the receiving end of the rejection.

    • I think your last sentence says it all Elyse, it says more about the person doing the rejection. I also think how you react to it goes a long way in your self view of yourself, your self-esteem.

      I think if you are in an industry (art, writing, sales) where rejection is part of the game maybe you learn to adapt to it better or you won’t be around for long. Raising a special needs child probably creates the same challenges because people perceive the child as ‘different’ and therefore don’t know how to appropriately react so rejection of anything different is easy.

      If you can keep a health attitude about yourself and what you are doing it makes dealing with these rejections or ignoring a whole lot easier.

      I see a lot of this in the social world where people feel rejected, slighted or ignored and I’ve even done my share of whining (imagine that……….). For me, I need to focus on doing what I need to do and know everything else will just take care of itself, right?

      Thanks for stopping by to visit Erin; always good to see you.

      • “Appropriate reaction” is an interesting phrase. I sometimes encounter all sorts of reactions when I tell people I’m diabetic (Surprise!). Some people flounder. Others don’t think anything of it. I love those people.

    • Working in the arts is great training ground for rejection. I well remember critiques from art classes as well as creative writing workshops. It was those experiences that gave me some critical abilities to determine whether the “rejection” had merits to it or was merely an opinion.

      I like your final sentence. I think I’m going to contemplate it for a while.

      Thanks for leaving a comment and for sharing some of your story.

      Erin

  6. Hi Erin—
    It takes guts to write a post like this. We all fear rejection, and it’s tough to write about. In my latest article, I wrote that “If you’re not meeting some resistance, you’re not doing anything of consequence.”

    Like Bill, I make my living making sales calls—the majority of which will be rejected. To stay positive, you have to look at it as a numbers game (cliched, I know). As I see it, the more rejection you experience…the more you’re digging in to win. So, send out that poetry. Let the resistance come. The rejection is just a step in the process.

    • Some days it does feel like you are taking a beat down, but it really is a ‘numbers’ game. I just try to make sure to keep a full ‘pipeline’ of some maybes that can be converted to yes’s, instead of no’s converted to hell no…………..:).

      For the most part everyone wants to be liked and rejection is a downer. Your reaction to it makes all the difference in the world.

      So good to see you Joe, thanks for coming by to see Erin. Hope all is well.

    • Thanks, Joe. I guess writing the post was a gutsy move. It felt like it in some ways. I don’t often write about personal rejection. I do sometimes write about being rejected as a writer, but the topic seems pertinent to my business and what I do.

      I like your sentence about digging into win. That attitude is right up my alley. I’m somewhat stubborn. 🙂

      Erin

  7. Erin, I have two names for you: J.K. Rowling and Albert Einstein. You are in good company when an idea or concept is rejected. What’s the saying? I doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down: it matters that you get up.

    And Carolyn’s comment is so true. If someone takes the time to write a personalized “rejection”, it means that they saw something of substance there: that there was value. Perhaps it just wasn’t the right time, right fit, or right day.

    Rejection can hurt, but when we realize it’s not “us” being rejected, but rather the work (for whatever reason…and sometimes there’s no reason…like when a job is posted externally but already a fait accompli filled internally, and the applicants take it “personally”), we can shake off, dust off and forge ahead.

    Keep writing Erin: indulge hurt feelings for a nanosecond, and keep moving…onward and upward. Cheers! Kaarina

    • I just start talking louder when I’m rejected and drinking too; that hasn’t worked out so well other than to make me a loud drunk……….but a lovable one………..:)

      People by nature want to be included, feel wanted, be heard; not rejected in whatever form. The thing with most rejection is, it allows you to take a step back and reflect and think about what could have been done differently. It’s ok to take an honest assessment, but certainly don’t beat yourself up over it.

      It is also ok to wallow in despair but only briefly; realizing the sun will rise again tomorrow and life will go on whether you are ready or not.

      Thick skin, huh? Ok, maybe just broad shoulders………..

  8. Hi Erin,
    Being rejected as a writer/poet is very tough! I remember years ago receiving a rejection letter which actually said some sincere nice things, which I only saw when reading it later!
    Today I think of the classic stories – of how JK Rowling was nearly “missed” by the publishing industry, and many other such “success” stories.
    I chose to bipass that aspect of publishing and become my own publisher with my first book. My reasoning was this; why take all that time and energy to find one person who will validate my work when I could publish it myself and let my readers decide? I couldn’t think of one reason 😮
    Hang in there!
    Lori

    • Being a writer where there is almost an infinite amount of ‘competition’ it is so hard to even be seen or heard and sometimes the rejection is just because of the numbers or somebody’s subjective criteria that has no bearing on how the ‘masses’ will perceive it. If you are publishing now, will you publish my book? I think I’m going to come up with a catchy title like ‘why are tennis balls fuzzy’ or something like that.

      I think your analogy of how JK Rowling was nearly missed can apply to athletics as well. Especially in the pros where everyone is talented but how one or two decisions can make all the difference in the world whether you make it or not. You are totally judged by your performance but if you can’t even get on the field rejection might sting a little more.

      I liked your GP guest today and thanks for taking the time to drive by here and say hi to Erin. I hope your day is going well.

  9. Great post Erin and I think we all feel your pain to some extent. Haven’t we all been rejected by something or someone? I sure know I have.

    I totally agree with Kaarina on this one. I immediately thought of the same two names: J.K. Rowling and Albert Einstein. If you believe in what you are doing and know that it’s good, keep on going. You probably just haven’t come across the right publishing company yet.

    And as Carolyn said, if someone has taken the time to write you a more personal rejection letter it’s because they have seen your talent and probably in their eyes you just need a little tweaking. Or perhaps it’s not the right time for them or they are over their limit. Heck, I don’t know how these things work but I’m sure you understand what I’m saying.

    I have learned over the years that you can’t take things too personally. Everyone has their own opinions and if we all agreed this place would be so boring. If you love writing poetry, keep moving ahead. Keep that positive attitude that all will fall into place when it’s suppose to and I have no doubt your time will come.

    Hang in there!

    Adrienne

    • Thanks, Adrienne! I will continue to hang in there. I do understand what you’re saying. I’ve worked as an editor in the past, so I have intimate knowledge of how things work on the backend. Editors may try to be objective, but they can’t escape their personal idiosyncrasies (although some of the work they receive simply is bad and should never, ever be published). When they’re inundated with works or a deadline is looming, forget it. They’re going to be merciless. 🙂

    • Not only could I understand it, I detected the Texas twang too. And I do believe Erin is from Texas as well so I’m sure she understood every word of it…………:).

      Bottom line, nobody like rejection; hearing ‘no’; not being included, etc. Your learning of not taking things too personally is probably the best approach you can take. It just causes too much thinking about things out of your control and you never really know what is going on in somebody’s head anyway, right?

      So glad you could stop by and I believe I saw you had a post about FB pop today so I might make it over. It’s my wife’s bday today so I don’t think she wants to see me typing on the computer tonight………:)

      Hope you are having a good one.

  10. Hi Erin (and Bill),

    I can really relate to this, I’m trying my best to become an author. I’ve finished my first draft (it’s in Norwegian), and I sent it to a few publishers. I sort of knew that I sent it a little early, and that I probably should have waited. I got some very interesting feedback, but I also received one standard rejection. And my first thought was, what’s this? The letter was poorly written, and it didn’t give me any feedback at all. After reading it, I wanted to know if they had read my manuscript, because I don’t think that they have.

    To me, a rejection like this is not a problem, but I don’t think about it as only a rejection of what I’ve written. I think of it as a rejection of me… but I always think that no matter the rejection, I should only practice to get better, and I’ll show them the next time. I never give up. This is how I ended up with my wife, she sort of rejected me the first time I called her (20 years ago) 🙂

    Jens

    • Hi Jens,

      Thanks for the comment! I love the story about you and your wife.

      I give you props for venturing into the publishing world. It’s a rough one, with a lot of ups and downs. You’ll have to let us know what happens with the book. 🙂

      Erin

    • Too bad your wife lost the bet and had to go out with you, but bravo to you for eventually winning her over after 20 years………

      That would be pretty neat if your book did so well they had to reprint in English. The premise of your book sounds interesting and complex so it makes me wonder what is really rolling around in that noggin’ of yours; where do you get your material?

      Sometimes you have to be smart but there are times you just need to be stubborn enough to keep trying. Fortunately, I’m not smart enough half the time to know better so I just keep trying and trying.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, always good to see you my friend. I’m sure Erin appreciates it as well.

  11. I have been rejected in every possible way. Been turned down and shown the door by people who were smarter and people who were dumberer than me. 😉

    Writing is a very personal thing and when you lay it on the line it can sting you…if you let it.

    I would be lying if I said that I haven’t been hurt or bothered by it. There is a online publication that turned me down twice because they didn’t like my work. Most of the time it wouldn’t bother me but it did because I see inferior work there.

    Some might argue that last line was my ego speaking but I would send this in a different direction. It is a question of taste and what they are looking for is different than what I have to offer.

    That doesn’t reflect on my skills or abilities- just on their taste. I love coffee, some people hate it.

    The world is a funny place. Bill’s comment about professional sports serves as a good example of that. Some great athletes become great because of the system their coaches implement while others who are great become average.

    I like what Lombardi said:

    “Once you agree upon the price you and your family must pay for success, it enables you to ignore the minor hurts, the opponent’s pressure, and the temporary failures.”

    • Hi Jack!

      That’s a great quote. It speaks to priorities and mindsets. Keeping one’s eye on the prize, if you will.

      Coffee? It depends. The coffee at one of my past workplaces was gross. Whoever brewed it had the knack for scalding the stuff. I prefer lattes. I know; I know. That’s not real coffee. It’s more milk with coffee flavor. 🙂

    • I think it would be hard not to feel the hurt, especially when you know your stuff is as good or better than what you are reading. But regardless of the quality, sometimes it does just come down to a matter of taste. Something I wrestle with on this little ol’ blog at times as attested to by my last post. I think the consensus was just to keep your head down and take care of what you can and it’s ok to keep blinders on to a certain degree; don’t get distracted by the extraneous noise.

      I too like the Lombardi quote; talk about old school, but Lombardi was a class act. Hated him however, because I was a Colts fan back in his era and wasn’t too fond of Roman Gabriel either if you want to know the truth. Another Colt nemesis……..

      BTW – I love coffee too; mucho good stuff.

      Good to see you sir, thanks for coming by to say hello to Erin today.

  12. Hi Erin,

    First off Thanks Bill for sharing your house with Erin. 🙂

    Rejection? Well I have to say it sucked, when I was younger I used to think it was a problem. Nowadays I looked at rejection differently. We can’t please everyone, as long as I can be true to myself and to my family, service my clients as well as I can, well the rest can reject me. I’m fine with this.

    I think rejection is good, it helps us find out who we are, what we stand for and more importantly what we WON’T stand for.

    Great post Erin, certainly won’t reject it 🙂

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for stopping by Bill’s blog and leaving a comment. I’m glad you don’t reject it. 🙂

      I’m incredibly grateful for the writing background I have. I think it helps me to handle rejection better than I otherwise would. That being said, my perfectionism gets in the way of that attitude at times…

      I like your point that rejection helps us to find out who we are and what we will and will not stand for. That’s very true.

      Erin

    • I like your thoughts along the line of helping find what we WON’T stand for. That doesn’t mean rejection won’t hurt and it might make you mad and angry, but it is certainly a learning experience that hopefully will make you more focused and stronger.

      Even though we can’t please everybody, I don’t think many set out trying not to please but it still comes down to a matter of taste or preference. Keeping it in perspective should be able to help you deal with rejection and not let it take you into a total funk.

      I also think whatever your world is, ie writer, artist, salesperson, etc might lend itself to many more ‘lessons’ than others and you will have to grow up real quick with those endeavors or you will never survive the rejections.

      Good to see you my friend; I’ve been missing the Fri afternoon wine shots. I hope MiP and BiP are both doing well and you are having a great week.

  13. Wonderful post, Erin.

    I definitely agree that certain types of rejection are easier to take than others. Some simply feel more personal!

    When I was dancing, it was never fun coming in last at a competition, but that was among the easier rejections to take. My dance partner would place me in a level above my current ability to try to motivate me. I started to view the rejection of my dancing skills as an “I told you so” to my partner. Reframing my perception of the situation did not leave me feeling personally rejected.

    However, rejections in areas that I consider to by my strength crumble my world to the core. Only receiving thin letters from graduate schools in a time of my life when I thought I was only good at academics left scars that didn’t heal for years.

    Thank you for being willing to share your vulnerability.

    • Thank you, Tammy, for being willing to share some of yours. Thank you, too, for the compliment about the post.

      I like your attitude toward your dancing. You turned something that could have hurt you deeply into something positive. It is harder, though, to translate some of those lessons to other areas. I haven’t ciphered the answer to that problem. I suppose we do as we must and keep going. The other choice is to quit, and that’s not a comforting thought.

      Erin

    • That’s an interesting thought Tammy; the areas you think you are just ‘ok’ at then the rejection might not come as a surprise. Still can be painful, but you can rationalize it away easier. However, when it comes from your strengths, it might make you step back and say ‘what is going on here’.

      I’m in outside sales with commercial insurance. I’ve invested a lot of time not only to increase my depth of knowledge with insurance, but being a student of people and sales as well. I have been knocked out of the saddle before by people with half the knowledge and half the skill set but just happened to have the cheapest price on a particular day. It can be maddening and you want to shout to the customer, don’t you see how good I am? Sales, social, writing, etc can all be fickle at times. In those situations I try to reflect to see what I could or should have done differently and by all means, make sure I’m not burning any bridges as I’m walking out the door……:)

      Sorry to hear about the setbacks on the academic side, but hopefully something good eventually came from out of it.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and say hello to Erin; very much appreciated.

  14. I loved this post Erin. I relate very much to rejection. I have been in Theater for a long time and auditions are always full of rejection. I was never beautiful enough to be the ingenue, so I had to be the villain or the funny friend.

    Lately in blogging, I feel very rejected. I have written several really good posts about one of my other passions – baseball and they have been roundly rejected.

    I have a new work schedule so I am around but not as much.

    My work for my old bosses was constantly rejected. I was starting to feel i could not write. I began to have serious self-doubt issues.

    I have also been rejected romantically and did not take it very well. I may blog about that. 🙂

    Thanks for having Erin here Bill – nice post as usual

    • Hi Nancy!

      Thanks for stopping by Bill’s blog and leaving a comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I kind of hope you do write that post about being rejected romantically. Maybe I could learn something from it.

      I’m sorry about the baseball posts. Baseball isn’t one of my passions – I was never very good at sports – but I’m sure your posts about baseball are wonderful. Are they at your blog?

      The situation with your previous bosses sounds very, very difficult. I can somewhat relate from my time as an unemployed individual. Self-doubt liked to keep regular company with me.

      I almost think theatre would be harder than writing. Yes, you’re acting a part, but you’re being rejected because you don’t look a certain way. Maybe we should make our own acting and writing troupe. 🙂

      Erin

    • Perceived passive rejection can certainly manifest itself in this fickle world of social and I even wrote about it in my last post…….. but you probably didn’t see it ’cause you haven’t been back to my place since your guest post here…………..wassup widat; and this is coming on the heels of your GP at Danny’s saying if a post sucks then don’t expect to see Nancy around. Sooooooo, I’m thinking I must be stinking the place up pretty good. But that’s ok, all I can say is I will keep trying to get better and certainly realize I’m not going to be everybody’s cup of tea regardless of how engaged or how nice I am.

      I think one of the common themes from the replies above are you can use rejection as a learning experience; just do the best you can; and whatever you are chasing out there make sure it’s real and not some elusive target you can never really get your arms around.

      You are a very good writer, there is no doubt about that. I would love to see an abundance of goodness shower down upon you so you can write about happy stuff as well.

      I’m glad you were able to make it by and say hi to Erin; maybe that’s what I need to do is just turn this place into all guest posts all the time. They seem to do better than my stuff.

      Yes, I saw your baseball posts but I’m still mad at you for letting the Yankees wax my Rays. They can’t score more than 2 runs until it doesn’t matter and now they are scoring a season worth of runs on them in one night.

      • I agree. I hope an abundance of goodness showers down on you, too, Nancy.

        Bill, no to the guest posts all the time. We need to hear your voice. I didn’t think the place would light up like this with my guest post. I hoped for it because I wanted it to show well on your blog, but I didn’t expect it. It’s pretty exciting. 😀

      • I am around, i have been busier than normal. Working in NYC is still a big adjustment and some days I come home exhausted and I have to work my second job! Cut me some slack will ya?

        Your Rays may catch Boston in the Wild Card too. Boston is imploding which is great to see 🙂

    • No slack; I know you well enough I get to call you out, which I have done….so there…..

      The Rays have a chance, but their lack of hitting will be their doom. The pinstripers are looking pretty good.

      I hope you have a good weekend and please oh please don’t start playing all your minor leaguer’s and let the Bosox take 2 out of 3……….

  15. Hi Erin,

    Congrats on the post! Bill’s place is quite the hub and hotspot.

    It’s sunny, packed and he always provides chips and beer 🙂 He’s a good host!

    Okay, I have to come clean. I used to read poetry to my wife. My own crappy poetry. Poetry and wine. Ha! I know, I know 🙂 but I’m a hack poet, I’m sure your stuff is great. Rejection IS tough, especially when you are producing creative work, because it’s so deeply personal, which makes it hurt that much more. It’s hard denying that, but I’m sure you’ll keep creating and maybe something great will come to you. Hang tough!!

    I get rejected each and every day, just trying to drum up business. I still cold call. Old school I know, but it works, it’s just that 99.9 percent of the time you get a big, fat NO! Some days it’s fine. Others, well it’s a drag, but I certainly understand this going in. So, yes, time to dust myself off and do it again.

    Very nice post, Erin.

    • Hi Craig!

      Thanks. I’m glad you liked the post.

      You know, if a guy were to write me poetry, I could care less if it were crappy. I think I would turn off my critical self for that. The fact that he took the time to write me a poem would turn me into…something melted, but not jelly. I need a different word. 🙂 Do you still write poetry?

      Cold-calling is hard work. You’re a brave soul. You’re right, though, you knew going in what to expect. I think that’s an important part of anything we do – our expectations.

      Erin

    • Good Lord McBreen, if your wife survived that I’m sure she deserved a medal. I’ve read your posts you slacker; you were whining like you didn’t have anything to bring to the table. Ha, you can write and I’ll bet you can write poetry as well. That’s about as bad as that ‘invisible’ dude who used to be around.

      I know the NO word very well; I’m in outside sales. Fortunately it doesn’t require as much pure cold calling at this point for me but I have certainly done my share. I would be lying if I said I liked that part of it, but I did have fun with it at time. I always took it as a challenge to make it fun, especially with the most cantankerous ones………I’d drop into low risk practicing and just start asking some really off topic questions.

      Thanks for dropping by to say hi to Erin; from what I’ve seen of her stuff, she is good and definitely needs to forge ahead.

      Hope all is well and you are having a good week.

      • Oh, wow. Thanks for the compliment. I wish my poetry mentor were here to see all this. She’d be telling me “I told you so.” She always told me I needed to be more confident about my writing. 🙂

      • She does deserve a medal. You are right there, Sir! Thanks for the complement. Hopefully I don’t start writing only poetry online though, then you’ll know I’ve gone off the deep end 🙂

        I cold call a couple of times a day, that’s it. So I don’t know “NO” as well as you do, that’s for sure. I haven’t talked to anyone, even sales guys, who LIKE cold calling. It’s tough, but it is a challenge for sure. Bill, I bet you have some great fun with the grumps 🙂

        Love to drop by, but dude, that poetry 🙂

  16. Damn you Feldman. This post got my gears going and I ended up writing a post on the difference between being a writer and writing. I was planning on goofing off on the subway ride home. Not cool.

    Rejection sucks, but it isn’t going to go away. Ever. Kind of leaves you with two choices. Publish anyway and keep getting better or hide. Not much of a fan of hiding myself…

    • Michael hide? Never……….I will definitely have to check out the post on the difference in being a writer and writing.

      Rejection always sucks, regardless of the setting. We can put on a face and can even grow from it, but it still bites the big one.

      Thanks for dropping by to leave your comments for Erin; I appreciate it as I’m sure she does as well.

      I hope you had a good day in the city.

      • Never saw the invisible blogger as the type to hide 🙂 Looking forward to your thoughts, hope it doesn’t suck.

        It sucks, but I tend to learn from a misstep than a step.

        Was going to say, hope you had a good day in X, but then I realized I don’t actually know where you hail from…

    • I’m very sorry. *unrepentant grin*

      When’s the post going to be published? I want to read it.

      Apparently, I’m not much of a fan of hiding, either. I wouldn’t have a blog if I were, and I certainly wouldn’t be contemplating how to increase my poetry cred. (Yes, that’s what I’ve decided to call it.) I must say, though, increasing my poetry cred seems much more worthwhile than trying to increase my Klout score.

      • Not 100% sure yet. Can’t tell if it is ideal for my site or something I might shop around as a guest post. Still need to give it another read and edit my chimp grammar (read: my wife needs to edit my chimp grammar).

        Not sure on the poetry cred… where can you get +1 for that these days….

        Have you thought about just putting them out on something lightweight like Tumblr?

    • The invisible one hails from the land of Disney. I’m in Lakeland, Fl about 45 min from Disney World. In about 2 weeks LegoLand will be opening in practically my backyard. Yes, tourism is a big industry for us; that’s why we don’t have to pay a state income tax.

    • BTW – You are welcome to GP here if you ever wanted to. You can see it’s kind of open forum and a mixed bag of specialties that show up. The common thread is we all like to talk…………..I know you like to hang with the big dogs, but wanted to at least extend the invitation, because we’re hospitable like that down here in the south…………:)

      • Texas is known for being hospitable, too. I’d like to get my site redesign finished before opening it up for guest posts officially, but it’s open for guest posts. I know it’s not getting all kinds of traffic yet, but I think it’s headed in that direction. *crosses fingers*

      • Why thank you. I wanted to make a good impression. 🙂

        Good question. I’ve seen Jack elsewhere in the past two days. Maybe he’ll make an appearance here soon.

        “Chimp grammar” is a good phrase. Michael shared that with me when we were chatting on Google+ a few weeks ago. It sounds as though he has a great wife, too.

      • I’m shameless enough to take you up on that, so be careful what you offer 🙂 It’s a good crew around here! Let me polish it up and send it over. If you don’t think it sucks, lets talk!

        I hang with any dog as long as they are a good one… that came out wrong… I think…

    • Look forward to seeing your GP offering; I think we can have some fun with it.

      I hear ya on the dogs; I’m just an ol’ hound dog myself, so all these dogs are looking pretty good to me………….:)

  17. I’m really leery of publishing my own poetry. I have several reasons for that, one of them being I don’t want my work being stolen. For some reason, that would hurt quite a bit more than having content stolen from my blog. Go figure.

    Where to get poetry cred? Not in mainstream culture I guess, although I do keep up with a couple of lit mags via Twitter and Facebook. That’s one of the reasons I truly like social media – it’s reunited me with that literary world. I’ve found a number of journals requesting submissions, so I need to get busy with preparing some new entries.

    I still want to read your post about writing and writers, wherever it ends up being published. 🙂

    • I’ll say the same thing to you that I say to designers in my industry.

      1) If you never put it out there, it never gets discovered
      2) If you’re getting copied, you’re doing it right
      3) When they start copying, it’s a sign to move on to the next thing.

      Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Design, poetry, it is all very personal. Copying is an inevitability, but it’s only a problem if that was the only idea that you’ve got.

      • Those are really good points. I don’t think the personal part bothers me as much. I’m always challenging myself to try different things, too, because I get tired of writing the same way or about the same things. Part of it is that self-publishing seems as though it cheapens poetry. Weird, I know, especially when I’m already considering self-publishing as a business route. Another part is the time commitment. I don’t know that I realistically can commit to caring for another web property.

      • Oh, there are. It then becomes a matter of judging whether the poems I’ve written suck completely, need some revising, or are ready to go. Create a small selection of poems and submit. Speaking of which, I need to work on a submission some time this weekend. I have an impending deadline.

  18. Hey,

    have had serious problems dealing with rejections. Sulk, withdraw and sulk more. But then, I tried to work on things I got rejected for. And if the things I got rejected for aren’t things that need to be improved per se, then too bad for the people who rejected me; they missed out on getting to know a super awesome person 😉

  19. Hi Erin and Bill – been away for a few days so late in coming to this party and it’s hard to add anything to all the wonderful,and varied comments you have had to date. Suffice to say that from my perspective some of the best (and hardest) lessons in life come from mistakes made and rejections received. The most important part is picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and getting back back on the (hypothetical) bike!

    Well done to Erin for a thought provoking and honest post and to Bill for having the good sense not to reject this one 🙂

    Wishing you both a fantastic weekend!

    Tony

    • Hello Tony, so good to see you. Yes, Erin did a good job and I hope she had some fun with it. Sometimes you put something out there and you just never know who might show up. As you can see, she didn’t get much rejection on this effort.

      Hope your time away was good time away and all else is well.

      The mistakes, rejections, etc are the hard lessons but inevitable. How you react to them is what determines in which way you grow. Hopefully, stronger and wiser, right?

      I’ve started following some people from a couple of your Top 10’s and have enjoyed their work. It’s fun to find new talent so that is why it has been great to have Erin over hear so she can be ‘shared’ with others.

      I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and hope you have a great weekend my friend.

    • Hi Tony,

      I’m glad you stopped by Bill’s blog. Thanks for the comment. You’re right – some of the best, albeit hardest, lessons are learned through rejection and mistakes. During those hard times, we get to choose how we’ll react. Will we grow or will we stagnate? For me, growing seems like a much better option.

      Have a great weekend!

      Erin

  20. Well Erin, I’m not sure if this will be the last comment but as you can see it did get active. I appreciate your GP and I’m glad it turned out well for you.

    I would say whatever you are doing just keep doing and continue to grow so you can share your wonderful talent with others.

    I hope you have a great weekend.

    • Thanks, Bill. It did get active over here! I’m really glad. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

      I will keep doing what I’m doing. It seems to be working. At least, I’m meeting some great people all over the world. I feel very cosmopolitan.

      Hope you have a good weekend, too.

  21. Hi Erin,

    I am new here. Your rejection article is a very well written piece. As I read it, I could feel your connectivity to the readers. There is a lot of feelings evoked about what rejection can do to you.

    Nobody likes being rejected. But rejection is not failure. But both these unpopular results can become your allies for success if you let them. The important question is to why. Why was your work rejected, why did the project fail? When doing this it is crucial that you remove the element of emotional attachment to the result. People are rejecting your results not you. Just like when a child does something naughty. It is the behavior that we disapprove of, not the child. We still love him/her to bits. Unconditioning.

    Cheers

    • Hey Jimmy, thanks for stopping by to say hi to Erin. You are so right when you say rejection is not failure even though it might feel like it to us. It is an opportunity to grow and learn.

      Very thoughtful response, thanks for taking the time to leave.

      I hope you have a great week, sir.

    • Hi Jimmy,

      Thanks for leaving a comment and for the compliment about my writing!

      “Why” is an important question. It’s one that needs to be answered, although it can’t always be in some cases. I love your analogy with the child. You’re right – it’s the behavior that’s the issue, not the child.

      I hope you plan to re-visit Bill’s blog. It’s a great place.

      Erin

  22. Hi Erin,

    Nice article about rejection and I love your writing style 🙂 I think rejection is a fact that push us forward. If everything is going well, we won’t put much effort on our work to be succeeded. But as I see most people define it as a negative one and never try to find small silver lining on it which could help them to succeed in future. May be they just defensive or not courageous. Or that’s how perception works.

    BTW I’m just new to this topic 🙂

    And yeah, Thanks to Billdorman for creating a great source… 🙂

    Cheers…

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