Rejection Level Thick Skin

Disappointment comes in many forms. And sometimes even when it’s expected it’s still a tiny punch in the gut.

I read once that Harper Lee said “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” Actually, a lot of very famous authors have a quote that is very in line with this sentiment. With that many people saying it there has to be some truth to the thought.

Heck, I heard that I needed thicker skin my entire childhood, so I figured I was pretty much set to handle whatever rejection came my way. As a twitterpated teenage girl I even was so bold as to write a very long (3 pages? 10?) love letter to a boy and anticipated the rejection that was going to come my way. If that cringe worthy event didn’t build up some thick skin then I don’t know what would.

And yet, strangely … rejection still stings.

So what is the secret? Apparently it’s getting lots, and lots of rejections. Just loads of them. Enough that you become desensitized to the very idea.

Although, if I’m being honest, becoming desensitized to anything seems like a bad idea. If you don’t feel the brutality of it can you really gain anything from the experience?

Maybe thick skin isn’t quite right … maybe it’s accepting that it’s going to hurt. Then taking that hurt, placing it under a microscope and examining what exactly hurt about it. What didn’t hurt. What you can use next time to avoid getting hurt. Rinse, and repeat.

So while an acceptance letter or two here and there (or all the time, that would be okay too) is very welcome, maybe we should also welcome the rejection letter? At the very least a rejection letter that goes beyond the form letter variety and provides genuine feedback. At least those act as a guidepost towards acceptance.

So here’s my new writer’s prayer … May your rejection letters be filled with much feedback and be only as plenty as your acceptance letters.


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