Bear with me here- there’s a connection between these two topics-or rather my reaction to them.
My oh so glamorous day job used to involve outreach to current and future students (I’m a college counselor). Budget cuts ended that, but when I first started it was extremely stressful. You’re thrown up in front of a few hundred parents and students talking about financial aid. The students are tuned out and the parents are panicked and /or hostile. Like probably the vast majority of you out there- I’d get stressed before a workshop. Public speaking is on many folks’ short list of things that cause terror.
Then one day I had an epiphany- I was more stressed because OTHERS thought I should be stressed. My perception of what I was doing was negatively modified by the reactions of others. Once this idea popped up, I was no longer afraid or stressed by speaking. I realized I was fine with it. In fact (looks around furtively) I even liked it!
Today I had another epiphany. My reaction to rejections is massively influenced by how people around me react or how I THINK they’ll react. It doesn’t help that most non-writers usually really don’t understand the process. Some of my non-writer friends totally get how psychotic this industry is. Others think you write a book in a few weeks then get rich (and can’t really figure out why I haven’t done either ;)). So when I tell them that I got rejected, they look at me (at least in my mind) like a huge loser. Even other writers can cause this internal reaction. But today I asked myself how did I really feel (I got a form rejection from an agent I was interested in). My gut fell about two feet when I saw the email, then another foot when I read the email. Then...I was fine.
It sucks, don’t get me wrong. This was an agent I was very interested in- but let’s face it none of the agents on my list are ones I don’t think I could work with or they wouldn’t be on my list. I still have more agents. I still have more books. I am already planning ANOTHER book to add to the collection. I am a writer- rejection sucks, but if I’m honest to myself- and NOT thinking about what others will say, do, or think about it- I’m fine.
Seriously, don’t even need chocolate to recover fine. It’s part of the business, and if I want to play with the big kids I need to deal with it. So what about you? Are your reactions to events around you really YOURS or someone elses?