Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Disappointment Stinks But Isn't Fatal

Last night the University of Kansas Jayhawks played in the NCAA Tournament Championship game. They'd had a wonderful season, beating one opponent after another. Many of the games were a bit too close for comfort for their fans, but they landed in the win column. . Their expectations in this last game were sky-high. The Jayhawks planned to win this final game and once again be the number one team in the nation. But it didn't work out that way. Kentucky was just too much for them. The players, coaches and fans were deeply disappointed. Even though I'm a true Kansas State Wildcat fan, I cheered for KU all through the tournament. They're a part of our conference, and my son-in-law, Steve. is one of their greatest fans. I know he's feeling that let-down disappointment today. Pretty soon, the KU faithful will start to look ahead to next season, and that's as it should be. A great quote that fits here is Don't look back. That's not where you're going.

Writers have high expectations, too, They're no different than those young men playing basketball. We take a chance when submitting our work to a contest, an editor or agent. A lot of the time, we end up with a rejection which breeds deep disappointment. I don't want to use the word 'depression'  because I hope we all can deal with the disappointment and move on before having to deal with that. We need to look ahead, not to the next basketball season, but to the next submission or the next project in our writing life. For writers or athletes, losing or being rejected is part of the game. If you aren't able to deal with it, then maybe a writer's life isn't for you. That sounds harsh, I know, but we all need to be honest with ourselves. The future depends on it.

First and foremost, when you receive a rejection, don't think it is a rejection of you as a person. It is not! It also does not mean that your submission is no good. Granted, that is a possibility, but it more often than not, means that the piece was not right for the publication. Or maybe it wasn't what they needed at this time. Perhaps they'd just published an article in their magazine on the same subject. There are myriad reasons.

Should you feel bad if your reaction to a rejection is disappointment? Absolutely not. It wouldn't be normal not to feel that way. I find that the best thing for me to do is set it aside for awhile, then come back to it later. I'm usually able to stop ranting by then and can look at the rejection a bit more sanely. Not immediately, but within a short time, I try to find another market and send my poor rejected baby out into the world again. Sometimes, I leave it in my files and wait until I run across a market that might fit. The important thing here is that I don't dwell on it. My pity party can last only 24 hours, then it's time to move on.

Disappointment stinks, but it isn't fatal!

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