I have mostly avoided exposure to rejection. I suspected my heart wasn’t tough enough to hear the phrase: “You’re not right for us.” And so, I usually stopped short of pursuing anything of interest where the word “no” would be used repeatedly.

See: ballet, modeling, acting, academics and applying to law school.

I don’t regret not going after these things, in the end.

But, writing. I do love it. Is it the community or the writing or the community or the writing? In the end, I’m not sure. What I do know to be true is blogging is FILLED with rejection.

I entered several blogging contests lately. The form rejection letters have all officially arrived. Is this a surprise? No. It really, really is not. What would be more surprising is if I actually did win anything. Lord knows I won’t win any grammar contests anytime soon.

But I guess I have infertility to “thank” for pursuing writing, something I was always afraid to try.

Infertility was a reminder to me that sometimes, rejection is not a choice: it’s an answer. Things we all assume will happen for us, things virtually guaranteed in our Constitution (for is not the American Dream the house/family equation?) are not, in fact, possible for some of us.

One thing I love about Silicon Valley is that failure is often respected. VCs are willing to bet on losers. These entrepreneurs may not win the next time, but the experience of failing can lead them to win, eventually.

And so, today I failed. Tomorrow I will fail. I will fail a lot more than I will win, whether in parenting or writing.

But, I’m tougher now. I’m more willing to fail.

Are you afraid to fail? Has it kept you from doing things you want to do?



Filed under Blogging, writing

17 responses to “REJECTED!

  1. I guess those judges had no idea what they were doing. I’m glad I get to read your writing!

    As to my own fear of failure, well, I’m sure you’ve read enough of my posts about that to get the idea. But I’m getting better!

  2. First of all, those contests don’t know what they are missing! But yeah, I know how you feel. I entered a few things and I swear all of the rejection came the same day and it was more devastating than I thought it would be. I am very afraid of risk and the potential for failure, but when I think over my life -especially the last 15 years – I am amazed by the risks I have taken and how it has worked out.

    Thanks for this…it really got me thinking. At work, we are trying to incorporate the acceptance of failure as a key part of taking risks. I support this and realize I need to do more of it myself.

  3. Am I afraid of rejection? Oh, hell YES. Well, maybe not. What I’m really afraid of is failure, which in my mind is different than flat-out rejection. Failure feels more like a more organic, situational occurrence. As in, my efforts to be a surrogate for a 2nd time failed EPICALLY (<– not a real word). Failure by the means of "that's just the way it is" feels hard to overcome. That's what makes me feel like giving up, or worse, not even trying.

    Rejection feels like a decision that comes from someone else. And for that, at least I can say, "I've got the goods, but maybe not in that one person's eyes. Missing out on the fabulousness that is me is their loss. Someone else out there will agree with me. I just have to find him/her."

    Lots of rejection over a period of time to the extent that I feel like there's little to no forward momentum…THAT then starts to feel like something beyond both rejection and failure. Then I REALLY come close to taking it personally and giving up.

    • Great comment. I’m wondering why I interchanged the words “failure” and “rejection.” I like the way you differentiate the two: “Rejection feels like a decision that comes from someone else.” And we can control where to go to next, to some extent. Whereas, failure = “that’s just the way it is.” And it sucks. Somehow the two words have stuck together in my mind and I’m not sure why. I like your interpretation better.

  4. I didn’t know you entered contests! I’m so proud of you! That takes a lot of courage. I have also gotten better at accepting failure; I actually think struggles with TTC and loss made me better at navigating failure because I was forced to. Writing and sending out my manuscripts has also helped me to accommodate to failure and rejection in a way I never have before. You’re right, we will fail more than we succeed as once we realize that we’ll be more prepared to try.

  5. Writers must have hides of Kevlar.

  6. Interesting post and good for you entering writing contests! When it comes to writing for me, I am less afraid of failing, then just not good at prioritizing the time to write/work on the porject(s) that I want to pursue. If I ever do that enough, then I may transition into that kind of fear or maybe not. In general I am willing to go after most things in life I want to do and fear has not been issue. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things I fear in life. I don’t like feeling rejected by other people. I like to be liked and have trouble understanding when I perceive someone doesn’t seem to like/get me. Typing on my phone, so sorry if this is a bit jumbled. Really enjoying your NaBloMoPo posts BTW! Keep up the great work! 🙂

  7. I’ve been actor for 20 years – you want to be talk about being rejected? I eat rejection for breakfast! LOL!

  8. Oh, yeah, never give up!

  9. I want to tell you something. I was cut from my university drama department in the 2nd year. I was cut after my first year of school in NYC, when I first looked for an agent, one told me I’d be better as a model. Then I left a steady f/t job at the age of 29 to pursue my dreams. I temped for 10 years and turned down job offers to build a career. I’ve had a pretty good career, nothing stellar, but a couple times I’ve even made a living. If you have a passion for something, nothing will put out that pilot light. Trust me, I tried to put it out myself. I used to pray to wake up to do something else. If you want to write, you can write, but you want to be a published, successful writer you have to PERSEVERE, ENDURE and think outside the box. Stephen King was rejected for YEARS and went on to become a huge success. Every no is an opportunity for you to turn it into a yes. Keep on!

  10. love this post, and your dad’s comment. 🙂

    Rejection is harder for me than failure, I think. Though I do understand why you’ve lumped both of them together … because sustained rejection (like, say applying to 21 jobs and not getting hired anywhere for over a year, hmmm ….) starts to feel like failure. I guess that’s where the hide of Kevlar comes in. At what point do we start to take the rejection personally, and feel like a failure?

    For the record, I think you’re an AWESOME blogger. And for all of the rejection there is in blogging, there’s also a lot more support than just writing in solitude, offline … at least you’ll have a few loyal commenters who tell you to keep going!

  11. Rejection sucks and hurts but I am truly afraid of failure. I think that’s why I never wrote before I dealt with infertility. I didn’t think I was any good and I’d be damned before I did something I couldn’t do right.

  12. You really are an awesome blogger, you THINK about things. Plus, you’re funny 🙂
    When I had to apply for funding for graduate school, that rejection hit me really hard. I internalized it as “I suck at this” and swore never to apply for an academic research grant ever, ever again. Which, if I want an academic career, doesn’t bode well. I have to get over it somehow. I mean I know I can handle the writing part, it was all the other details – forms, signatures, deadlines – that did me in. I’m not very detail-oriented. Wow, there I go again internalizing it…
    Anyway, I know rejection is part of the game, also for publishing anything. I think nearly everybody feels the same way about it.

  13. I’m totally jealous of your writing skilz! Those judges are totally wrong! I am totally afraid of failure, but I don’t let it stop me. I am more afraid of rejection though. It makes me completely sick to my stomach for days.

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