Dealing With the Naysayers (In My Head And Beyond)

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I am working on a top secret project that is really exciting. Mostly I feel driven and passionate about it and very motivated by the general interest it has provoked. Mostly. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk publicly about it soon.

The reason I’m not saying more here? WELL. Things were going really, really awesomely for a while, so I opened up to some, er, people I know about the project. I knew it was a mistake pretty much the minute the description of the project escaped my lips. (You know when you can see the words you just uttered in a bubble above your head? And you wish you could just shovel those words back into your mouth? Well, that happened.) Ever since I opened my big fat mouth about it, I’ve had to deal with non-stop comments about how I am DOOMED TO FAILURE, either because of the insignificant size of my platform and/or my topic area (Sample comments: “You need 77,000 followers to do ANYTHING worthwhile.” and “No one will care about your topic.”)

Then I actually ran into a real obstacle. It is not an insurmountable hurdle at all: in fact, the incident helped me decide upon a crucial point I had been endlessly debating.

But the lingering sting of rejection and the naysayers are getting me down. I’ve never been great at accepting the answer “no.” My (very few) modeling days were fraught with insecurity and I obsessed over the negative things people said about my appearance, not remembering any of the positives. (My lips were too small and needed collagen injections was the most frequent criticism I got. I was 16! So no, I wasn’t going to get collagen injections. I used to put an icepack on my lips to try to get that bee stung look. It didn’t work.) I was scouted multiple times by multiple agencies (including a very prestigious agency in NYC) and in most cases I didn’t even get to the answer “no” because I couldn’t handle the answer “no” so I didn’t even pursue opportunities. I kind of regret that now. On the other hand, I’m sure the answer WOULD have been no.

The thing is, writing and modeling (and acting for that matter) are kind of similar, right? Lots of people want to do these things for a living. Ergo, there WILL be a ton of rejection. You can give up, or you can never surrender, to paraphrase Galaxy Quest.

I was bombarded by rejection during infertility treatments. I probably would have given up sooner had I not been under serious pressure to make it work.

What’s worse? Chasing a dream? Is that wasting your time? Is being surrounded by naysayers detrimental? Or are they around to keep you focused on the ground, where you actually live?

I don’t know the answer, as usual. So I’ll put it to you, oh wise ones. How do you handle naysayers and/or rejection? Does it prevent you from pursuing your dreams? Is it a waste of time to even pursue dreams? Should we stay grounded to the earth?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Dealing With the Naysayers (In My Head And Beyond)

  1. The most brilliant people on the planet were told they were doomed to fail. And they did it anyway, because they believed in themselves, and their projects. I strive for that sense of impenetrable self-worth. It comes easier to some than others. But until there are real road blocks, rather than naysayers, I think you owe it to yourself to plow on. 🙂

  2. Mel

    I saw be your own best friend. Believe in yourself. Those naysayers may be correct or they may be wrong — but who cares? Who ever did things ONLY because they’ll succeed? Part of the joy in being alive is trying things out, throwing your heart in the ring, and hoping big things happen.

  3. Do you believe in your project? If you do then ignore all of those people who say it can’t work. How is believing in something not being grounded – isn’t it better to try than to pack up and walk away? I think doing, believing, moving is more grounded than being negative. You know me I am all about cup half full. I think it is fantastic that you are pursuing something you believe in. Ok. So do it 😉

  4. I am very sensitive to criticism, so I understand. But the naysayers can also push you harder and make you more determined than ever to meet your goal. I hope you are able to keep the momentum going for your project.

  5. I think you’re always going to have negative people around. I am also sensitive to that kind of thing. The biggest dreams are those where you stick it out and keep going, just like infertility, like you said.
    Hold onto your dreams and don’t give up!

  6. Some people like to destroy dreams just for fun. Some are negative because that’s how they see the world. I say keep going. At least you will have had the courage to try, right? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  7. I don’t really know how I handle rejection. I don’t let it affect the way I feel about me but I suppose I do let it affect my actions and what I plan to do. After I got my five rejections on my children’s book project I stopped querying agents and publishers. I suppose if I didn’t listen to naysayers I would have kept sending it out, but I didn’t. And I doubt I ever will. I guess in the end you have to do what feels right for you. Lame advice I know, but it’s all I got. 😉

  8. I’m such a people pleaser and can waiver when I hear negativity, but I think if your dream is something you are passionate about, then try your best to pursue it. If it makes you happy, it might be worth forging through. Don’t let naysayers get in your way. I’m excited to hear what this project might be!

  9. I got about 40 rejections before I found an agent willing to take me on.

    And we got about 40 rejections before we found a publisher willing to back my book.

    And now we are all very happy we listened to our internal voice rather than the naysayers outside of us.

    If you feel like your project is its own entity and you are a sort of shepherd for it, keep moving it along. Just go through the one door in front of you. And if you don’t see one, look for another.

    I believe in you. I’m your yaysayer.

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