Every time I get a rejection, I think about what it means to grow a thick skin. That’s what common wisdom says – if you want to be a writer, you have to grow a thick skin. I’ve been writing stories for a long time, and went through the submission process with my trunked novel. So I’ve endured a lot of rejection. Have I grown a thick skin?
I’d be lying if I said rejection doesn’t hurt me anymore. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I get a rejection, shrug, and send it out to the next publication. And then there are the times I get my hopes up. At these times, rejection hits like a punch to the stomach. I spend about five to ten minutes wallowing, lamenting my future failures, convinced I’ll never be good enough. My cat slinks off in disgust, my dog tries to lick my face, and my husband is left bemused.
So maybe my skin isn’t as thick as it should be.
But after I’m done being ridiculous, I come back to the rejection, to the piece, and try to figure out where I went wrong.
I suppose, in conclusion, I don’t think it’s necessary for a writer to have a thick skin. It probably helps. I always feel better when I can shrug off a rejection rather than going the wallowing route. Still, I’m not going to stop dreaming just because it stings less when these dreams aren’t realized. I think what’s really important is picking yourself up after a rejection, dusting yourself off, and getting enough distance to re-examine things with an objective eye.
Keep writing, keep dreaming, keep the rejections coming!