Staying strong in the face of rejection

Life sets us up for a fail. From the get-go we’re taught that the hero always wins, the princess will get her prince and fortune favours the bold.

What we’re not taught is the reality; life, sometimes, stinks.

Sometimes you don’t win. Sometimes the prince gets away. Sometimes you get your butt whopped by life.

And to no other cohort does this happen more regularly to than the ‘Creative’. By the ‘Creative’ I am of course referring to the delicate writer, the intuitive actor, the graceful dancer, the trusting songstress, even the daring freelance accountant. Whomsoever you may be, you are a ‘Creative’ and you live in a magical fairy-filled world where good always triumphs. Which makes it oh-so more difficult when you face reality’s hard truth;

Sometimes, you will be rejected.

By whom? The editor who knocks back your manuscript. The make-or-break acting gig that goes to someone else. The record label that turns down your demo tape. The firm who only take juniors with twenty years of experience and a portfolio of existing clients. Rejection, rejection, rejection.

But my little ‘Creative’ ones, I’m here to bring you hope.

Do. Not. Give. Up.

Yes, you will be rejected in life. Because that is life. What you need to remember is that rejection happens to you. Rejection is not you.

There are a myriad of reasons why you might have been rejected; the editor in charge of reading your manuscript had a headache and only glossed over your work. The casting director in charge of hiring the star for the new commercial gave the part to her cousin instead of you. Or maybe, just maybe, your work wasn’t good enough this time. But that doesn’t mean you give up.

It means, rejection has happened to you. You as a human being, were not rejected.

You as a human being are not rejected.

You are not rejected.

Go forth. Do not give up.

Reject rejection.

*I am a writer and frequently rejected. In a stunning turn of events, and to prove my point [never give up] I was asked by the very talented Mohamad Al Karbi, to guest blog. I took this as my chance to share my motto with everyone else out there. Go forth. Do not give up!

For more writing hints and to view my creative writing head to

Many thanks to Mohamah Al Karbi for having me!

43 thoughts on “Staying strong in the face of rejection”

    • I’m glad you liked it. I’ve found in life that there’s always at least one person who i can count on to have my back and keep me strong. Sometimes that person is just me alone, but you know what, sometimes she’s all I need!

  1. I think this advice is also useful to those who are job searching. I know for sure at some point I’ve felt like I had no “market value” when I got rejected. But I’ve come to learn that it’s true that when one door closes, another door opens!
    And the reasons for rejection you mentioned reminds me of a quote that is somewhat relevant:
    Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. – Don Miguel Ruiz
    Sure our ability is a factor, but most of the time whether we get chosen or rejected is a matter of luck!

    • Thank you for the very personal comment! While I’m saddened to hear your story of rejection, im glad you were able to recognize rejection as the ultimate chance for ‘something else’ ; the proverbial open door. You might be interested in an upcoming post I will be publishing to my site, ‘Is your career feeding your black dog?’ All about how jobs have a huge impact on depression; something I’ve had personal experience with!

  2. It is easy to receive rejection as a negative. We all want to be accepted, but rejection and failure can also be called a setback, and I think that’s a much easier word to stomach.
    I once attended a panel of publishers and editors, and one of them talked about their own experience as someone who has to deliver those “rejection letters”. They talked about guilt, and wanting to encourage the aspiring author, but they also felt their own frustration that so many read their letter in the wrong tone.

    “All too often I offer feedback, constructive suggestions for how to improve upon the story, but instead of working with me, they rage against me, telling me all the reasons why ‘It is good enough’ and how I’m ‘going to regret it when someone else says yes,’ but the truth is, nothing would make me happier. All a rejection letter really means is ‘We can’t sell this.”
    It was really touching, and a powerful lesson on perspective.

    And I think your point is well made. They rejected the story, not the author. One of the most common pieces of advice I hear is “as soon as you submit one story, start another. Then, if the first one gets rejected, now you have two stories to submit.” And, referencing another article I read, writing more stories helps us to become less attached to any one, which can take some of the sting out of the setback.

    • I love the idea of seeing the rejection letter from the other side! I never thought about the editors / agents / publishers who have to send them out, especially to the writers they thoughts had something nearly perfect to offer but just needed a little something else doing to it. This will stick with me for a while.

      Your point about starting another story when you submit is something I already do. I have a bunch of short stories and poetry that ‘do the rounds’ so to speak. If I get a knockback here, tomorrow I send it there! (After the obligatory ugly crying session of course). 🙂


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