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Facing Rejection With a Smile

One of my favorite shows is the Great British Baking Show because of the support and good cheer the competitors give each other. It is truly a feel-good show. I was watching it the other night and noticed in the credits that there was a psychiatrist on staff. Why would they need a psychiatrist?

How astute and caring the producers of that show must be. At the end of each show, one baker is sent home and one is chosen “Star Baker.” This is a highly emotional moment, but after the selection is announced, Paul Hollywood and the others hug the one to be sent home and reassure them that they are fine bakers and

how well they did even though they might not have gotten it right on the show. They leave the show sad to be going home, yes, but proud and glad they were a part of it.

Writers, on the other hand, are left to suffer alone and in silence when they receive yet another rejection. Sometimes it’s hard to laugh it off, make fun of it, and tack it on the wall with all the others. Nowadays, you probably won’t even get the rejection note.

I keep pushing the idea of offering a workshop at our annual conference on how to handle rejection. So far I haven’t been successful mainly because we haven’t located an experienced psychologist to put such a workshop together. In the meantime, how can we lessen the sting? I have a few suggestions.

Develop a positive mindset aimed at writing a piece that they won’t be able to reject. Rejection

simply means you haven’t achieved that yet. You need to step up another rung. Your critique group can help you get there and offer a sounding board for your frustration.

Talk to agents and study publications to hone your ideas of what they are looking for. When I was writing nonfiction articles for magazines, I knew when I sent it off that the publication was going to buy it because it read just like the articles they published.

Get a copy of Rotten Reviews & Rejections edited by Bill Henderson & André Bernard. This collection of the reviews and rejections now famous and respected authors received provides a lot of laughs and a way to put your own rejections in perspective.


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