“Don’t allow your wounds to transform you into someone you are not.” —Paulo Coelho
It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while, I hear a story (second hand) about writers who have been wounded by my feedback. These stories reach me many years after the feedback has been given.
Every single time, while I usually remember the writer in question, I have forgotten what I said, or what the project was about.
I often like to advise writers: Don’t take rejection personally. When you seek commercial publication, you have to switch mindsets. You have to see your writing as a product. You’re entering into a business transaction.
Of course, that’s very easy for me to say. I’m not the one being rejected. That said, I’ve had my share of professional, business-based rejection, too. It gets easier the more you experience it. And when you work on the inside of a publishing house, and you see how decisions get made day to day, you realize there’s nothing about it that any author ought to take seriously.
I wish I could tell those writers, the ones who carry wounds from words I uttered years ago, that what I said was not meant to be taken seriously. It was said as part of my business day, and sometimes I forget there could be a person allowing my words to carry a weight they shouldn’t have.
If you’re carrying around a rejection burden, I hope you’ll reflect on whether or not the person who rejected you is still thinking about it, or could even recall the rejection. If they’re not likely to be carrying a burden, then why do you keep it around for yourself?
For additional inspiration: multiple versions of Two Monks Carry a Woman