The last few weeks have been really rough. Having work rejected sucks. And it’s no good telling yourself over and over: “It’s not you that’s being rejected.” It’s your work, your ideas, your presentation of the ideas that’s being rejected. And yet it’s not you being rejected? Erm . . .yes it is.
And it keeps on happening no matter how high you climb the ladder. After Russell T. Davies had written ‘Queer as Folk’ he’d have been forgiven for a tiny assumption that his next project would be received with open arms. Instead, it was rejected. And after being assured that her series ‘Hetty Wainthrope Investigates’ would run for a fifth series, Patricia Routledge was understandably angry when it was dropped without anyone bothering to tell her.
Rejection is crushing. So what can you do to lessen the blow? This is what I’ve painfully learned:
1. Never put all your writing/acting eggs in one basket. Rely on nothing until you get a contract or a cheque. Keep looking for other work.
2. Diversify. A good friend of mine said she was sacked without reason from a journalism job and went into tv instead. Then she headed towards books. Get as many strings to your bow as you can.
3. You should have at least three projects on the go at any one time, particularly in the early stages of your career. Of course there will be times when you have to concentrate on doing one thing, but try to make sure there isn’t a great black hole when that particular project ends.
4. Feel it. Acknowledge how shit you feel but don’t punish yourself. Be kind. Take a bit of time off and lean on friends.
5. Try not to get too pissed.
6. Don’t write an angry email to the bastard tosspots who turned down your brilliant idea. Particularly if you’ve ignored point no 5. I know someone who did this and while she was justified and the actual email wasn’t particularly vituperative, the recipient didn’t change his mind and now she’s the person who sent the angry email.
7. Also if you get really abusive in your angry email you could end up looking like a bit of a tit like Giles Coren.
8. Keep going. All writers, all freelancers are rejected. You are not alone. It just feels like you are.