Perspective is Everything, Especially When it Comes to Rejection

I recently received my first rejection since I started this blog in April. A short poem I’d submitted to a well-known children’s magazine was “not right for us.”

It wasn’t my first rejection by far. (We writers have to get used to rejection or we would never submit anything. Our stories would remain locked up inside us, silently struggling to seep out of our pores.)

The morning I received the rejection I had a conversation with my aunt. She asked if I remembered that when I was diagnosed with cancer 14 years ago I told her that I just wanted to see my boys go to kindergarten. And as long as I got to do that, I’d be okay with whatever happened. (They were 7 months and two-years-old when I was diagnosed.) I don’t remember saying that to her but I do remember thinking it. I remember thinking that asking to see my babies graduate from high school or college would be too much. Too greedy. So I chose kindergarten, the closest educational step. What seemed the most possible at the time.

After talking with my aunt that day and being reminded about my good fortune to still be breathing, I opened the rejection. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and letting Shoulder Frank spew his soul-crushing evil like I’ve done in the past, I let myself have a brief moment of disappointment and then I veered right to gratitude.

I’m grateful for that rejection because I am still alive to be able to write poems and essays and articles and stories that can be rejected. I could easily be dead but I’m not. Thanks to the power of modern medicine I’m alive to see my children in high school. And I’m alive to write.

So who cares if that magazine didn’t want my poem!

Perspective is everything.

In case you need a little help figuring out what you can be grateful for, check out my free one-minute e-book, 100 Things Anyone Can be Grateful For. Even if nothing else speaks to you, the world’s best brownie recipe will. It’s my grandmother’s and it’s divine.

Grandma's Brownies - definitely something to be grateful for!

Grandma’s Brownies – definitely something to be grateful for!

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33 thoughts on “Perspective is Everything, Especially When it Comes to Rejection

  1. You’re right, it was super easy to download a pdf of your ebook, and I liked it a lot. It would be good to have a poster to hang in my kitchen. A daily reminder of all the little things we take for granted that make every day precious.

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  2. Well written! I always like the topic of gratitude, and therefore I like your blogs :). It is a dying art to be grateful in this very greedy world…

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  3. Cancer has a way of making us grateful to be alive. Too scary. I am grateful you are here to be a mother and to experience rejection or anything else, but selfishly I’m grateful because I LOVE your blog! I LOVE your voice and your writing! Thank you for sharing your ebook! Take care.

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  5. I totally identify with your post. I have always wanted to write, so I started doing some freelance writing recently. I was consistently submitting articles that were accepted by my clients, and I was never asked to do a revision. However, when I received my first request for a revision, I couldn’t believe how mad I got. I was surprised at my own reaction, but it made me stop and gain some perspective. First of all, everyone doesn’t have to fall head over heels with everything I write. It is okay not to WOW everyone. And secondly, famous writers always talk about rejections they experienced along the way, and many of them have daily reminders sitting in their bookshelves. Books they wrote that didn’t do so well, stare back at them to give them perspective.

    So, I got off my high horse and I re-wrote the article for the client and they accepted the revised version. Now I am grateful for that rejection and the many more that are yet to come. This experience helped me to learn how to prevent myself from spiraling down into that black hole of despair that tries to tag along with rejection. I don’t have to be perfect and everyone doesn’t have to like what I write. Wicked Wendy constantly tries to tell me something different, but I ignore her too just like you ignore your shoulder guy. They need to go get a life!

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    • Good for you for changing your perspective and giving Wicked Wendy the boot. Also, great that you are doing well as a freelancer! Revision is just a part of working as a writer. Give yourself a break. 🙂 You’re right that you can’t always please people. Thanks for your comment!

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