How To Cope With Rejection As A Freelancer

“I used to save all my rejections, always thinking, “I’ll show them“. I always talk about how hard it is, but I also think it’s glorious… …Writers are writers because they can’t help but be writers; they have to get it out there. I feel more whole and reassured when I’ve written something. I try to discourage my students from a writing career most of the time. The ones who get beyond it are really meant to do it.” – Lawrence Grobel

Is there anything more rattling than those few seconds after clicking the “Send” button when submitting an article to a publication? Your heart skips a beat. You briefly live out a nightmare where you envision the editor screaming to himself, “What the hell is this? Is this guy serious? Stop wasting my time!

On the other hand, maybe you’re so confident that you assume everything you write is gold. Yes – there are definitely those people. However, it is this author’s belief that the majority of us, whether we’ll admit it or not, are scared little children when it comes to revealing our meager selves to the world.

How ironic then that the word “NO” is more common than any other – at least in this industry. Coping with rejection can prove to be large hurdle when it comes to persevering.

Force Rejection Into A Learning Experience.

Whether you’re an experienced veteran or fresh out of college, you will feel the burn of rejection at some point or another. It’s part of the business. With the standard response time being upwards of thirty days, the wait can prove long and painful. More so than not (at least it seems), the standard reply is a polite, but apathetic “No thank you.

However, don’t be so quick to toss the letter, or email, in the trash. Take several moments and analyze it. Is it a standard template that any receptionist could have filled? Is it an actual typed letter or email directly from the editor, himself? Find out what you’re dealing with here.

If it’s an actual letter, consider this to be a possible “in“. The next time you have an idea, send another letter to the editor and include the first couple of paragraphs of your article. Try to pull him in and want more. Follow that by reintroducing yourself and request that he take a look at some of your other ideas. Persevere! You’d be hard-pressed to find a single successful freelancer that hasn’t had his or her heart shoved into the ground at some…or many points.

Refresh Your Idea.

Take a good hard look at your proposal. Can it possibly be reformatted for a different publication? Is it possible that with a few more revisions, your idea could be revamped? Or, be honest with yourself. Is it possible that you’re idea just isn’t that original and intriguing?

Try to be as objective as possible. What is the goal here – To become as creative and talented as possible? Or should you spend your free time going on rants about how the editor is an idiot because he doesn’t see your true genius?

Though it might be difficult, respect the fact that you’ll forever be in a state of learning. Honestly, would you ever want it any other way?

Real World Example.

A famous songwriter from the beloved show “Fraggle Rock” once admitted that he wrote five to ten songs a day! When asked how he was able to do so, he responded, “Well some of them stink!“. He continued, “If I can write one or two really good songs in a week, I’m a happy man.

Let’s analyze this statement. Coming from a very accomplished writer, he’d be proud of himself if he churned out 2/25 high quality songs each week. Are you that hard on yourself? Do you scrap all but twelve percent of your writings? A great and maturing lesson that everyone, including yours truly, should learn is that no matter how talented we might think we are, sometimes we’re going to “stink”.

Realizing such concepts can be greatly liberating. We’re all in this same shabby boat trying to paddle ourselves to greatness. To our dismay, it seems that such landmarks can only be achieved sporadically.

What do you think?