Self published authors are truly on their own - long hours in front of the computer screen writing and marketing! Then along comes a troll and puts the boot in. This week's guest poster, Silas Champion, has a few tips on dealing with rejection.
Keeping That Chin Up | Dealing With Rejection
Writing can be a discouraging endeavor. A writer sits in front of a computer for months or sometimes years to create a very personal work of art. He or she then pushes this delicate art form into the wide world to face criticism. It can be a terrifying experience. It’s like an eagle pushing its baby out of the nest.
Every writer faces rejection. Publishers and agents reject our work. Self-published authors face bad reviews from readers or just difficulty getting anyone to buy their book. Many famous authors suffered a lot of rejection before they found success.
It can be difficult to deal with this rejection. Our work is personal; therefore rejection of our work feels like a rejection of us. Sometimes when we get that thirteenth vague form letter rejection from an agent, we just want to throw the laptop out the window. When we see a zero in our monthly sales on Amazon, we feel like chucking it all and living in a box under a bridge.
How can we avoid giving in to discouragement? How can we stay out from under that bridge? Well, first, we should step away from the laptop and put that big box in the recycling bin. The television reception is terrible under the bridge anyway. I think there are three ways to keep your chin up in the face of rejection.
Celebrate Small Victories
The first way is to focus on the positive. Keep that review from someone who enjoyed your book close at hand. Go back and look at a positive post about your work on social media. There are people out there who enjoy your work. This is one reason why we write. With all the rejection and discouragement, it is good to be reminded of this from time to time. I still remember the first review I got from a total stranger. Someone who didn’t even know me talked at great length about how they enjoyed my book. I go back and read that review occasionally, and some others as well. Even though some people will not like your work, others will. Don’t give in to negativity.
Writing is a solitary endeavor. It is a very isolating activity as well. Isolation makes it much easier to become discouraged. Find some people who will lift you out of the slough of despair. Talk to a friend on the phone. Exchange emails with a positive person. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to find community. There are many encouraging and friendly writers on social media. They are facing the same struggles. You are not the only writer struggling with crippling self-doubt and discouragement.
Of course, there are plenty of trolls and negative people online as well. Ignore the angry trolls (unless, of course, it is an actual troll–then run away). Find good people and interact with them. Avoid those who constantly spew discouraging information. There are many writers out there who run down famous authors or just lament their lack of success. Reading for the umpteenth time how Amazon’s algorithms are stacked against you will drive anyone to drink. There are always complainers. Find positive people and push negativity away.
One of the most exciting things that can happen to a writer is the new idea. There is a rush of excitement and energy that comes with it. A new project is full of possibilities. It is like an undiscovered country awaiting exploration. Keep yourself busy with this excitement and you won’t have time to wallow in self-doubt and pity. This doesn’t mean we should ignore older projects. Jumping from one project to another without finishing anything is counterproductive. That will lead to frustration as well. It does mean, though, that we should always be pushing forward. The new possibilities will motivate us to move past our self-doubt.
So stay out from under bridges (seriously, there are trolls there) and just keep writing. Keep going. Keep working. Don’t let your doubts and fears make decisions for you. Find positive people, explore new possibilities, and keep reminders of small successes. Go for it. Don’t give up, and seriously, throw that box away.
What are some things that I missed? How do you push past the obstacles of doubt and discouragement in your writing?
Silas Champion is author of the children's book Finbar's Fiddle, available on Amazon.