Rejection May Not Be Personal, But …

Aline Ohanesian

I’ve lately had a series of writers confide in me about rejections. It’s reminded me how much rejection is almost never a career setback, but a psychological one.

Author Aline Ohanesian (@alineohanesian) shares an excellent story about dealing with rejection. In the first part of the story, she explains how she’s tried to help her children overcome rejection by friends—which is dubbed the “shopping for fruit” story by the family:

We remind him that he is a ripe juicy apple and the person saying no is either allergic to apples, can’t handle any more fiber, or, more likely, just felt like eating oranges that day. Rejection is rarely personal, we tell them. It has very little to do with what’s being chosen or not chosen, and everything to do with the person choosing.

But when Aline gets a particularly difficult rejection, she realizes how ineffective the “shopping for fruit” story is. Click here to read about her realization.


Aline’s story is just one of several in the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, which offers insights into the writing life:

Posted in Creativity + Inspiration.
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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3 Comments on "Rejection May Not Be Personal, But …"

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Pema Donyo

I love the point Ohanesian made about wanting to be able to fail and get back up again. Rejection takes endurance, but it makes the victory that much sweeter.

Frank J. Mueller III

Rejection can be psychological damaging, but it doesn’t have to be. It should be remembered that rejection is not a rejection of you, but of your story. Unless it is self-rejection, an entirely different matter. Rejection is not to be ashamed of, but can be part of the writing/publishing experience.

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