If you’re a reader (or a Game of Thrones watcher, or a Harry Potter fan-who-never-read-the-books, or, you know, if you’ve ever even seen five minutes of a Quentin Tarantino movie ending), you know the feeling when something traumatic and devastating happens in the story you’re engrossed in, and you just go:
That’s how I became a writer. I think that’s how a lot of readers become writers. We see something in the movie/TV show/book we don’t like, and then we re-write it. Technically it’s called fanfiction, but I didn’t know that when I first started re-writing endings. All I knew was Sirius Black was not dead, and a fictional version of Harry needed to know he was still alive as soon as possible.
It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the original story, I just thought it would be better another way. I rejected something about the story – and that’s the beauty of rejection.
Not only is it how I discovered how much I loved writing, it’s how everything is improved. Inventions only get better when someone sees the original and thinks, “Wow, this mode of transportation would be so much faster if…” It’s how society experiences progress.
There’s different kinds of rejections, it’s true. Someone looking at the first car and thinking, “Maybe it’s just me but I feel like that thing should go more than 40 miles per hour” is a lot different than sending your manuscript to a ton of publishers and receiving only rejection letters.
When it’s your original work or personal application being rejected, it feels a lot more personal. As a veteran of the college application process (thank goodness), I remember all too well being torn up over every rejection letter and scholarship denial. I’ve seen friends experience the same emotion over intern applications, job interviews, and all kinds of contests.
It’s frustrating when you believe in your work or your experience, and it’s only shown dismissal. It’s enough to make you throw your hands up and pull a Maleficent.
Okay, not maybe not quite.
But there’s life after the initial disappointment. The rejections placed me with a college I can’t wait to go to back to in the fall, a hardworking publisher, and an on-campus job with awesome opportunities. All my other friends who faced those first rejections have now found jobs or internships or another magazine for their artwork.
Rejections lead you in the right direction, or at least inspire you to take a different path. Improvements wouldn’t happen if ideas weren’t rejected all the time. They’re how I became a writer; they’re why drag racing exists.
At the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy: they’re not the end of the road; they’re the beginning of a new one.
The word doesn’t deserve all the bad press associated with it. “Rejections” are amazing.