Perhaps somebody doesn’t want to represent our work, or publish our work, or read it – or maybe all three. We try not to take it personally, tell ourselves they are rejecting our work, not us. We slink back to our computer or drawing board and start again.
Today, something happened that put all this in perspective for me. I read The Big Issue magazine. Not normally residing near a capital city, I don’t generally have exposure to this publication. But yesterday I was able to buy a copy from a street vendor in Brisbane.
The Big Issue is an innovative enterprise to help homeless and disadvantaged Australians. It is sold by people who may have disabilities, be struggling with addiction or have been disadvantaged through their upbringing. The Big Issue is all about boosting the self esteem and future prospects for the people who sell the magazine.
So what’s the relevance to having your manuscript rejected? In this week’s The Big Issue, one vendor talks about the snubs he receives on the street every day from people who don’t want to buy the magazine, the feeling of rejection. He talks about one day feeling depressed and how he turned this rejection into a positive experience.
It made me think about how I pay far too much attention to that yellow envelope with the rejection letter that arrives periodically in my mail box. I don’t have editors in my face saying “I don’t want to buy what you’re offering.” I don’t deal with rejection on a daily basis.
When next you’re in an Australian capital city, I hope you’ll buy a copy of The Big Issue and help someone get their life back on track. If you’re a writer or illustrator, you may not know what it feels like to be homeless, but you probably know what it feels like to receive a rejection.