It was the evening of Christmas 2014 and I had recently embarked on a mission to rebrand my blog. I had all the motivation in the world to become the next blogging sensation and plenty of holiday time to fulfill that. My new blog concept was aimed at speaking to millennials as a millennial while figuring out this whole adult thing. Of the websites I read frequently and felt I would be a very obvious match with was Elite Daily. Despite that sounding arrogant, it was merely naive confidence that assured me I would have the next byline.
So, I made my way over to their lengthy application, inserted my ideas and submitted.
Luckily their response came around 1a.m. on the 26th otherwise Christmas would have been ruined. You guessed it! I had officially been rejected by Elite Daily.
The scathing feeling of Elite Daily telling me “not at this time” stems from their cool allure. Someone at Elite Daily officially knew how horrid my writing was and had the sick pleasure of rejecting me. It’s like the scene in Never Been Kissed when Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore) thought Billy was taking her to prom but instead smashed her face with an egg.
All dramatics aside, this is exactly how I felt.
But days later I managed to pull back the sheets and get out of bed. Mainly because I had to go to work but I digress. I took my time to sulk but most importantly I took my time to reflect.
I never set out to pursue writing because I thought it would be easy. In fact, writing is extremely difficult. What’s worse is that everyone gets to judge your personal creativity when all you want is a humorous blog post. But it’s what drives me with every heartbeat I have. Despite the rejection wounding me, it was well needed.
The process of being rejected gives us the chance to revert to nature and make a fight or flight decision, next. On one hand, rejection allows editors, publishers, content managers and anyone else with a red sharpie to weed out those who aren’t willing to fight. If they can easily turn your piece away despite it only needing minor tweaks for someone who wrote back fixing those tweaks, they will.
But for you, the writer, it makes you better. Even if your work is superior to the next but you’re still told it’s not quite good enough, the result of your second try will blow minds. Being able to strait-jacket your ego, swallow the rejection and try again but harder is what differentiates those who love to write and those who live to write.
If your work is never questioned by anyone else, it’s likely not to be questioned by you. It’s also easy to let your support system of friends and family commend your efforts even if they lack luster. Expose yourself (um…I meant your work) to a completely unbiased stranger once in a while for a skill check.
Sure, not everyone is going to like what you write even if it is Pulitzer-worthy. But don’t let that enable the flight mechanism and cater to your “it’s good enough” defense. Just keep plugging away at your craft, welcome criticism, enjoy the praise and never give up.