Oh, my God, they hate my writing! My career and life are over.
Rejection is every writer's worst nightmare. Unfortunately, rejection is inevitable for any writer who is actively engaged in their profession. Few of us write on a remote Greek Island with an editor who worships us. No matter how much skill and beauty we bring to the craft, not everyone will be enamoured by our brilliance. The fear of rejection and criticism can kill creativity, keeping us from doing our finest work. Plus, how we deal with it will define our professional path.
How can we armour ourselves against criticism and not let it destroy our confidence?
Imagine what our lives would be like without the timeless genius of Charles Dickens! In “Les Standiford Didn’t Invent Christmas, But He Knows Who Did” (Florida International University News), JoAnn Adkins writes, “Three failed books left Dickens broke and distressed. Over the course of six weeks, he penned the tale of Tiny Tim and Scrooge hoping the book would keep his family financially afloat. But when the book was rejected by his publishers, Dickens decided to publish it himself. It was met with instant success and critical acclaim.” If the famous writer had succumbed to the critics of his time, the world would have been robbed of one of the most inspirational stories in the history of humankind. But Dickens rejected the rejection, which is the pivotal point.
Charles Dickens knew that he had written a book that would change the world. No self-important editor could dampen his passion. It is obvious that the brilliant writer had an unwavering faith in his own ability to thrill and shake readers to the core. Nothing affected that integral belief in himself and his skill with the pen. His secret was confidence, pure-and-simple. The reason that Dickens could deflect the rejection of his publishers and not let it derail him was because he knew that they were wrong.
Writers must develop a rock-hard core of confidence in their own writing ability. This task is essential if they want to prevail among peers who are more than happy to cut them down to size. But how to do it? I believe that it is important for writers to disempower the critics with an unremitting faith in their own ability to create beauty. Every writer should put the words of Marianne Williamson on their fridge and live those words every day: “We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
Dear writers, believe in your gifts and be proud of offering them to the world. Have confidence that your writing is as uniquely beautiful as you are – every day.
However, the confidence that you develop must have a strong and formidable body of work to support it. Therefore, write every day and as you gain finesse, build a stock-pile of ammunition: your exceptional well-written work. The next time that you are reeling from some bitter arrow from an over-zealous critic's bow, bring out your completed works, revel in your skills and talents, have a glass of wine, and relax.
Tomorrow, you will leave all those fools in the dust.