Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Rejection Reflection

There are a lot of blog posts and writer-ly sites that address rejection.  It is a prevalent part of the life of a writer-wishing-to-be-published.  And since we all face the rejection demon together, we bolster one another.  We pat backs, we reassure, we encourage, we explain.  Some of us are devastated by rejection.  Others take it in stride.  Most of us fall some where in the middle of that.

So here's my current take on rejection:
In high school I got bitten by the theater bug.  I wanted to act!  I'm a naturally shy and introverted person, so this was a strange thing for me to want, but that didn't stop me.  I bravely auditioned.  The director told me I should take theater class if I really wanted to act.  So I signed up to work props and signed up for class.  Then I auditioned.  I got a three line role!  Yippee!  Then I auditioned.  I ended up working props again.  I took another class.  I auditioned.  I got a slightly bigger role.  I kept taking classes.  I kept auditioning.  I kept getting three line roles or slightly bigger.  For the last show my senior year I auditioned.  I got a three line role that the director was going to write in.  I quit.

I walked away from that show and that director (same guy the whole time) and I got myself a nice big ball of bitter to carry around for years.  I spent my whole high school career getting rejected on some level at something I loved and wanted so badly to do.

In college, theater life got way better.  I was asked to be a theater major (they asked everyone who showed an interest, mind you).  I got great supporting roles.  I got some lead roles.  I had a blast.  But still I carried my bitter ball with me.  A bunch of "I knew I could do this!  Why didn't he see it in high school!" floated around in my head.

As I've started writing and getting rejected, I've had a catharsis.  I was not my high school director's cup of tea.  I simply wasn't.  Who knows why.  If I had other options (directors) available to me, I could have moved on and probably found one who liked my style.  In college I found that director.  She loved me.  Who knows why.

Theater is subjective.  Writing is subjective.  And in writing, we have a million places to present our work and a million stories to tell in order to showcase it.  It is a matter of finding the right match.  The right agent or publisher with the right story at the right time written in the right way.  I'm not in high school anymore with only one person to judge my talent and only one place to try to improve it.  I've got the whole world of publishing available to me and countless classes, conferences, workshops, books and mentors to help me improve.  Rejection is simply a statement of "this isn't the right match."  It is not "you stink," "your ideas are useless," or "just who do you think you are trying to be a writer."  Keep trying, keep growing, keep improving.  You'll find the right match if you do.

18 comments:

  1. That high school director was nothing but delusional anyway. But I love this post.

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  2. And that, my dears, is why Carin is my best friend. : )

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  3. Delusional I love it! Great post Megan, the world is your oyster and all that.

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  4. haha Yay!for best friends! :)
    Megan, I luvs ya, Girl! This is such a great attitude to have --- says I who has suffered the disappointment of rejection all my life in one way or another. BUT .. life goes on, it hasn't killed me, I have learned much through each time when I have allowed myself to grow from it. You are doing just that.
    Write on! You are getting there. One day I will be ecstatic to interview YOU on my blog!
    Blessings.

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  5. You've got it figured out, Megan. Great way to look at things even if it isn't always easy. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. This was utterly AWESOME! I totally feel you. I had a similar experience...

    I always loved to read and write. I was writing in a journal until I was 15. The last time I wrote in a journal about anything, only because my mother found it and decided I had no privacy in her house. So, I moved on to poems.

    My 11th grade English teacher surprised me one day and introduced me to The Institute of Children's Literature. Apparently, he saw some potential.

    I finally decided to major in English w/ a Writing Concentration (only the writing was more journalistic than creative). Then came along my first Creative Writing Professor...

    All the girls loved him. He was considered to have Robert Redford eyes. And, apparently, he loved a good dress, or was it the legs that were under it? I don't know, I never fit that crowd. Anyway, after about a month in his class and him failing me on my first two assignments, I wanted to talk to him about it. He was ruining my GPA! And, I wanted to know how to better my writing. Well, he said "I don't have time." I said, "Fine, then I don't have time for your class!" and dropped it.

    A few semesters go by and we get a second professor teaching creative writing, so I thought I would give it another go. Was my writing REALLY that bad??!! Luckily, this professor LOVED my style.

    And, luckily, that was only ONE of the many professors who I had...so I knew, deep down, it wasn't my writing that stunk...although I still revisit those feelings on more occasions than I would like!

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  7. You are such a wise and wonderful woman, Megan. And I am so very proud of you ... as I have been throughout whatever life has thrown at you. You will find that perfect match in writing, just as you have in a best friend, in college theater, and in a husband. God is with you. You are blessed.

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  8. And that, my dears, is why my Mommy (Peggy) is awesome!

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  9. That is totally true. The Writer's Book of Hope is full of stories of the best known writer's in the world getting rejection after rejection before they found success. Those stories inspire me so much!

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  10. What a wonderfully inspirational reminder. Great post.

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  11. Good for you for trying again! And for redirecting your healthy attitude toward the publishing world. :D

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  12. "The right agent or publisher with the right story at the right time written in the right way." In all things. This quote transcends life. Great post, Megan.

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  13. What a great post! And I became a permanent member of backstage after auditioning for more plays than I could count. :)

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  14. Brilliant, thanks Megan: very useful for me to have found today especially!!

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  15. What a great post, and I've learned something new about you! I'm sure that theater experience plays well into your writing. And you are so right about personal preference and timing. Always good to get those reminders. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  16. Hi Megan. My first visit to your lovely blog (via Carole Anne Carr). This is a wonderful post with great insight. The bitter ball is no fun at all. Most of us have these unsettling stories of rejection and yes, I believe you are absolutely right about it being more about a good fit, than anything else. Finding our match and then our audience is key. Thanks for the reminder!

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  17. I'm so happy this post is resinating with so many folks. I appreciate all the comments!

    Lori - Welcome! Great to have you over! : )

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