Thursday, February 19, 2015

Handling Rejections

Rejections. They come with the turf as a journalist, especially if you freelance, but there’s no way to avoid them, unless of course you are the boss. Even then your brilliant ideas might be rejected by your audience.

One way to handle a rejection is to take an AK47 or some other gun and shoot the bastard who rejected you. A good way if you don’t mind spending the rest of your life in jail or being executed and having a lot of people hate you. Or you could write a nasty letter or email to the bitch telling the person how brainless they are for rejecting you and your brilliant idea. That’s like blowing up both ends of a bridge with you in the middle. Another way is to just walk away from it all and never pitch an idea again. Yes that’s really showing them how not talented you are.
Rejections could and sometimes did ruin my day, especially if it was an idea that I had high hopes on and that I knew was a good idea. I’d often spend a day or two or three moping about and feeling sorry for myself. I would often fantasize about being a multi-millionaire and firing the editor or demoting them to a menial job. However, it was a good way to waste time and not accomplish anything.

Gradually I learned far better coping skills. I’d take an hour or two break and do something totally different, like play a computer game (My favorite was and is Railroad Tycoon.) or read or file. Sometimes, if a rejection hit particularly hard I’d take the rest of the day off and do something different, which might include a walk or a bicycle ride.
I also learned to try not to take rejections so personally. I learned to realize that it was an idea that was being rejected and not necessary me. Sometimes the editor themself might not know why they were rejecting the idea or reject it as they had reached information overload and were just wanting to get home. Sometimes the rejection might be that they have two people proposing the same idea, one they knew and one they didn’t know. They would go with the one they knew, which is natural. An idea might be rejected as you didn’t do your homework and they had just covered it or were about to cover it.

And let’s face it not all ideas are good and some are pitched at the wrong time to the wrong place or are good, but not pitched well. You then need to pause and rethink, which can be a very good response to a rejection.
Finally the very best response to a rejection is to just move on. Send out the query to a new publication or, if, upon reflection you feel it may not be so brilliant after all, send out a new query.