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Friday, 15 August 2014

Overcoming Disappointment

Recently, at one of our invaluable writers' meetings, someone mentioned disappointment. It is something we could all identify with. For most writers, disappointment is something you have to learn to live with on a fairly regular basis, in one form or another. I think it is easy to forget that even successful authors will have had rejections and disappointments and probably still do, even when they hit the dizzy heights. The disappointment from rejection letters (or even the gaping hole of no response at all), can be energy sapping; it can throw you off course and worst of all it can, if you let it, mar other areas of your life, dulling times which should and would otherwise be joyful. That initial conversation stayed with me and I wondered about how other people cope with disappointment so, a couple of days ago, when we got together again, I asked my tenacious and inspiring writer friends.

These were some of their answers:-

Cry - a lot!

Spend time with someone close whose job depends less upon the judgement of others.

Read some affirming words.

Talk your disappointment through with family or friends.

Acknowledge how much it hurts.

Remind yourself of all of those authors who are now successful but were turned down many times on the way. (i.e. Kathryn Stockett's The Help was reputedly rejected by 60 agents).

Take strength from your writing group if you have one. They are guaranteed to console, encourage and put things in perspective.
(If you don't have a writing group, try to find one).

Someone suggested getting a dartboard, pinning your rejection letter to it and taking aim!

 I also recommend walking. It usually helps me to feel better and more able to face the world.

Remember that this rejection is only one person's opinion.
(okay maybe more than one person but there are still plenty more out there who may love it - how will they get that opportunity if you stick it in a drawer).


Send that work out again.

You will probably have many other suggestions, maybe involving chocolate, retail therapy or being slobbered over by a very affectionate pet. I find all of these help a little bit too!

Then I had an e-mail from one of the disappointment contributors and she mentioned success, which set me thinking again. Because this wise writer said that we don't celebrate our successes enough. And I think she's right.  I happen to come from a family where celebrating success was rather seen as 'showing off'. But I'm about to show off because on 1st July I had a book published and I haven't mentioned it until now. Not because I'm not immensely proud of it. I am. But because I have been so disappointed that my publishers are no longer taking children's fiction and the lovely people I worked with on Last Chance Angel and my new book, No Going Back, are no longer there.. But it's more than time to get over that and move on. So here is my new book.

It's about love, loss, forgiveness and strangely enough, disappointment. It is also about moving on.

Finally, when that rejection letter drops on to the doormat or a 'thanks, but no thanks' e-mail pops up in your inbox, this quote from Barbara Kingsolver is a good one to give hope.

'This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package.
Don't consider it rejected. 
Consider that you've addressed it 'to the editor who can appreciate my work'
and it has simply come back stamped 'not at this address'.

Thank-you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you have a good week.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the publication of No Going Back. I'm so pleased that our discussion helped with ideas for overcoming disappointment. And I love hat quote from Barbara Kingsolver.

    (This is my second attempt to get a message posted up. I'm hopeless with capchta!)