Dealing with Rejection Letters, Criticism or Other Annoying Pests

Last week I received some unwelcome criticism at work. Hmm… or is ‘unwelcome criticism’ redundant?

Over time, I’ve gotten better at dealing with rejection and criticism. It still bothers me, but with others’ advice, I have learned how to see if there is any value to the criticism and then move on with my life. Not without a moment or two of pouting, that is for sure, but I do move on.

In terms of ‘rejection letters’, I now have a totally different attitude about them, then I once did. Basically a ‘rejection letter’ is a ‘not buying this now’ response. I’ve seen editors use the term that they are going to ‘pass’ on an item. ‘Pass’ used to seem a strange term to me, but now I understand it. ‘Pass’ means they aren’t buying what you have to sell. It isn’t a condemnation of what you are selling. It may be a matter of how many dollars are in the budget and people, including editors, can’t buy everything that they see and like. A kind editor will take the time to add a few words like, “nice writing, but doesn’t meet our needs right now.” But others say that they simply don’t have the time to write something thoughtful for each decent submission.

As a self-publisher, I’ve now been on the other side of the publishing table. I’ve had to choose one illustrator out of many who asked to be considered and a narrator for an audiobook (out of dozens of possibilities) and frankly, it’s not fun knowing that there are many disappointed people. But, especially with the narrators, many of them come from a background in acting and you don’t get every part that you audition for. AND….. sometimes it’s a matter of the best fit for this particular part.

I’m participating in “Colleen’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge”, a forum post on an internet marketing forum which offered prizes for anyone who signed up and posted to their blog each day for 30 days starting January 4th. Only last night the thread got deleted. Apparently a few people felt that posting a thread with your name in it, was too self-promoting. In effect, they were criticizing “Colleen’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge.” Given the howls of those participating, it again brought home the point that you will never please everyone.

And finally, I’ll close with the words of Albus Dumbledore, who trying to console Hagrid that people don’t believe Rita Skeeter’s claim that he is a ferocious giant, tells him that parents and former students have been writing to Dumbledore singing Hagrid’s praises. Hagrid complains that not everyone is writing good things about him and Dumbledore responds, “Really, Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I’m afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time.”

These are words worth remembering. Don’t dismiss all critics as idiots, listen long enough to see if there are valid points or things you can learn from your critics, but then brush them off and move on. You have too much to offer the world to stay holed up in your cabin!

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