Rejection is definitely part of a freelance writer’s life. No one gets hired for every gig they apply or submit a query for. Maybe it’s just as well, because there is no way that we could do all the work if everything came to us that easily.
Despite the fact that I know that I’m not going to get hired every time, there are some times when not getting the gig really gets to me. If I know that I presented myself in the best possible way and I still didn’t get hired, then I must defer to the fact that someone else was a much better fit for the gig.
I do let myself be disappointed that I didn’t get the nod this time. I think it’s normal, reasonable, and, well, human, to let yourself feel icky about it for a little while. I’m not arrogant enough to mentally flip the client the bird and tell myself that it’s their loss, but if that technique helps you to move forward, then go for it.
It can be tempting to use the rejection as a reason to assume that just because one person said No that no one else is going to ever say Yes. Please resist that urge and either remind yourself that other clients have hired you in the past and will again, and/or that there is something else that will be a better fit out there for you.
While you should acknowledge being disappointed that you didn’t get a particular gig, especially if it was something you really wanted, don’t throw yourself a pity party that lasts indefinitely, or let one rejection make you believe that you were foolish to think that you could be a writer. The definition of a writer is someone who writes, not necessarily someone who gets paid to do it.
The next time you feel the sting of rejection (and it can really smart sometimes), acknowledge it. Then take some positive action. Focus on the work you already have on your plate or contact some other prospective clients. Doing something productive will help you get back on track quickly. A better gig may be waiting just around the corner for you.
Michelle C. says
Great set of tips, Jodee! Would add that, in some cases, it’s almost a good sign to get a rejection letter, because at least you have closure. I’m sure I’m not the only writer who has fired CVs and portfolios off into the nether and never heard a thing from the potential client again. . Keeping this attitude has helped me remain philosophical about outright rejections; at least they cared enough to send me a rejection letter!
.-= Michelle C.´s last blog ..Sample Travel Article: Akihabara =-.
Thanks for the “virtual couch”. This is the best advice I have seen on rejection, and it can be applied to rejection in other areas than writing.
I have endured much rejection in the past 15 months, being unemployed and trying to start a writing career at the same time! This advice will help me to “recover” much faster in the future!
@ Michelle C: Good point about being told that you didn’t get the gig.
@ DebCarr: Thank you for the kind words. 🙂
.-= Jodee´s last blog ..Getting Back up After Rejection Knocks You Down =-.