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.