Rejection”?the bad weed

Rejection is the only thing you can count on.

And here I thought I only had death and taxes.

I have just spent $135 to attend a conference where the only thing I learned was that rejection is a sure thing. I attended the Get Publishing Conference at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton. I listened to Ann Douglas, author of 27 books, and Barbara Dacks, owner, publisher and editor of Legacy magazine, among other “published” authors and people in-the-know. I loved hearing these people tell their stories. They all shared bits of their somewhat typical, but unique life stories. I’m not sure if I expected them to speak in iambic pentameter or what, but when they sounded like reassuringly normal, un-intimidating people, I found great hope and inspiration.

It made absolutely no sense to me, then, when I arrived home and mentally replayed the weekend in my head, but the only thing I could think of was the sting of rejection. They weren’t mean to me. I hadn’t pitched any heartfelt ideas that had been brushed aside by their artistic authority or snobbery. Rejection was simply the only thing that the speakers had in common. Rejection was the message each of them emphasized. Get used to it, they all seemed to toss around like it was wind on the Prairies or rain in Vancouver.

Suddenly, rejection loomed before me. The speakers hadn’t been intimidating but their collective aftermath certainly was. How will I ever deal with all the rejection I am sure to get? My thoughts leapt to visions of me hunched over my computer typing madly for days, pouring my heart and soul into each piece only to have them return — REJECTED. The horror!

Soon, rejection seemed to pop up like dandelions on a spring lawn. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Nothing would ever be good enough. Tried, but rejected seemed like a horrible place to be. I saw a man wearing one of those No Fear t-shirts that said “Second place is the first loser.” I thought those shirts went out of fashion years ago. What made that man pick that shirt and walk right by me today? Was he in on it? What did he know that I didn’t?

“You can’t finish if you don’t start.”

That’s what my neighbour had taped to his computer when he was writing his master’s thesis. Was that what I would have to resort to? Would my walls soon be littered with sappy motivational messages? Would I have to soldier onward never knowing when the enemy would relinquish control?

Yes, of course I would, I thought snapping to my senses. I would have to be persistent. We all do. I realized that there was one other thing these successful people had in common. They had all beaten rejection. And so, hope was restored. I am reverted to my optimistic, motivationally charged post-conference self.

I am ready to be rejected!

Well, at least I can sleep easy having been reminded that rejection can be beat, that’s it’s not so bad. And in case I forget, I just have to look to the right of my computer screen where a little note from Thomas Edison reads, “I have not failed, I have only found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” A little perspective never hurts.