If you’re submitting your work, then I’m guessing that you may have had some experience with feeling like you’re “failing”. Do rejections equal failure? Definitely not! But we all know that sometimes it can be tough to take on those rejections. Today Sub It Clubber, Hannah Holt is here to share with us The Art of Tumbling: How to Fail without Falling to Pieces.
Once a week I take my five year-old twins to tumbling class. Why would I pay for lessons for what is essentially “falling down”?
Simple. Before young gymnasts can do backflips, they have to learn to tumble. Learning how to fall well is an essential skill.
“I want submissions that make me do backflips,” said an agent at a conference I recently attended. A room full of aspiring writers dutifully scribble notes—make her do backflips.
But how do you make an agent flip for your work?
Simple. You do a lot of tumbling first.
Tripping is a regular part of life and most careers. Writing is a career with more stumbling than most. I’ve never met a career writer who hasn’t been rejected many, many times.
If you are in the middle of what feels like rejection free-fall, know that what you are experiencing is totally normal.
Rejection doesn’t mean you are a bad writer. It doesn’t mean you will never be published. You’re just:
- going for more rejections than Dr. Seuss
- collecting interesting material for your memoir
- learning what doesn’t work
- earning your stripes
With a few tips and tricks, you’ll be able to tuck and roll through the tough times, so you can get back on your feet faster and stronger than ever before.
The first rule of falling is to lean into it. Don’t resist it, flail about, or go rigid.
I leaned into falling by setting a goal: get one hundred rejections in one year. Each rejection earned me another square in my progress spreadsheet. Wahoo, bring on the rejections!
If spreadsheets aren’t your magic bullet, here’s how a few other writers handle rejection:
–Marcie Colleen celebrates with rejection chocolate.
–Vivian Kirkfield watches a classic movie with a big bowl of popcorn.
–Stacy McAnulty treats herself to a Starbuck’s Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappé.
–Heather Linford turns up the music and dances the rejection blues away.
By the way, I didn’t make my goal of one hundred rejections because I signed with an agent first. The sooner you embrace the tough parts of writing (or at least learn to tolerate them), the more quickly you’ll find success.
Whatever you do, don’t stop writing. Keep rolling forward!
Kate Messner writes and revises about twelve picture books each year. Usually only one or two is accepted for publication.
To have a career in publishing you need to write. A lot!
So stop refreshing that inbox and start writing something new. Who knows but maybe you’ll love your next piece even more than the first.
3. Get Back on Your Feet
This advice is like the last: keep writing AND keep sending out queries. When a rejection comes in, send out another query. I usually send between five to ten queries at a time. That way I always have something out there. Many authors send out more queries than that, but that’s the amount I can thoughtfully and respectfully submit at a time. Each author has her own best amount, but any amount is better than zero. As long as you are ready to query, keep yourself in the query pool.
I keep track of all my queries using a handy spreadsheet. Katey Howes has another cool method using index cards.
You can’t always plan where your writing career will take you. But if you keep tucking and rolling and standing back up, you’ll be doing back flips before you know it!
What are your tips or tricks for handling rejection?