Lately I’ve been thinking about rejection—not that I’m feeling rejected—but I’ve been noticing how different people react to rejection. It seems the longer we are writers the better we tolerate it. Beginning writers often find it difficult, if not impossible, to deal with. I’ve often seen a single rejection or negative comment send a manuscript into a drawer never to be seen again.
I am reminded of an experience I had several years ago when I spoke at a large writers’ conference. A writing buddy of mine (more experienced at speaking than I was at the time) was also a speaker at that conference. After the conference, they sent each speaker a list of comments about their talk that came in on the evaluation forms. When mine arrived, I read through it and highlighted all the negative comments. A few days later my friend sent me a copy of his comments sheet. I had to laugh when I realized that on his sheet he had highlighted only the positive comments.
One thing we all eventually learn as writers and speakers is that not everyone is going to like what you write or say. One editor may reject a piece with negative feedback, and the next editor will accept it enthusiastically. My father had a plaque over his desk at work that said: “You can please some of the people some of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” A good mantra for the writer or speaker.