Chances are, you read the title of this post and huffed, “I hate rejection! Rejection, I will dance upon your grave!”
The good news is that you’ll never stop experiencing rejection, so you won’t have to be shining up your dancing shoes anytime soon.
Wait — did I say the good news?
I did. In my career as a magazine writer, book author, content marketer, blogger, and copywriter, I’ve been rejected well over 500 times. Yes, I counted.
But instead of seeing “no-thank-yous” as a sign that I should just give up and get a real job, I see them as a tool for boosting my career success.
Here are five reasons to consider rejection your bestest friend …
#1. Rejection teaches you how to stop being rejected
In the late 90s, I was trying without success to break into the national women’s magazines. Every pitch was met with rejection.
Then, one day, I received an email from an editor at Woman’s Day. She said she liked my query — in fact, she wanted my permission to showcase it at a writers’ conference as a pitch that was almost-but-not-quite there — but that I didn’t do enough research on the topic. Why don’t I expand on the idea and send it to her again?
So I did a few interviews, added some quotes to my pitch, included a few examples of what I would include in the article, and turned it in.
Behold! My first women’s magazine assignment.
And I went on to write for Woman’s Day again, and also sold more than a dozen ideas to Family Circle (and became their highest-paid writer) using my new, well-researched query approach.
Of course, not all rejections will be full of friendly tips from prospects, but you can learn even from boilerplate “No thanks” responses.
For example, if you’re getting a lot of these impersonal rejections, that’s a sign you’re doing something wrong and need to reconsider your approach. Something about your letter of introduction, pitch, offer, or samples may be lacking.
#2. Rejection allows you into an exclusive, world class club
Ever hear of The 4-Hour Workweek — you know, that New York Times bestseller that created a worldwide movement to work less and earn more? Author Tim Ferriss was rebuffed 26 times before he found a publisher willing to take him on.
Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was turned down 30 times. King was so frustrated he chucked his manuscript into the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to submit it just one more time.
JK Rowling suffered countless rejections before scoring a hit with the Harry Potter series. She’s now one of the richest people in Britain.
Take heart that the rich and famous have been where you are right now, fielding no-thank-yous left and right. When you get rejected, you have something in common with the most successful writers out there.
#3. Rejection demolishes your competition
I cannot even tell you how many wannabe writers I hear from who gave up in the face of rejection.
That makes me sad, but it offers an advantage for you: The more writers out there who let “no’s” stop them, the more opportunity there will be for you to land those content writing gigs.
In other words: Fewer writers = less competition. Yay, right?
#4. Rejection helps you cut through the crap
Think of rejection as clearing the path towards your best successes.
All those prospects who are turning down your content writing offers — they’re just obstacles you need to get past before you finally reach the prospects who will hire you.
Every rejection brings you that much closer to an acceptance. Think of those famous failures we just talked about. What if Tim Ferriss had stopped at rebuff #26, or Stephen King had given up for real at #30?
They were at their final rejections, people!
Who knows which will be the final rejection on your current marketing campaign? If you’re learning from rejection and tweaking your copy and offer in response, chances are you’re getting pretty close.
#5. Rejection brings you better clients
My take on rejection is that if someone turns me down, that means we wouldn’t be a good fit.
You may be thinking — especially if you’re a newish writer — that any client would be a good client, but believe me (I know from experience) that there is such a thing as a bad client, and that you don’t want one.
So the ones who turn you down? They’re sparing you from slogging through an assignment for a client that isn’t a match for you in work style, writing style, pay, or PITA (that’s Pain In The A**) level.
Even better: When you get a rejection from one prospect, that leaves room for better ones to enter your life. (Why yes, I do believe in all that woo-woo energy stuff!)
Over to you …
Why do you love (or hate) rejection? Are you on the verge of giving up?
Can you see how rejection can be used as an ally in your work, instead of merely a hard bump in the road?
Let me know in the comments!
About the Author: Linda Formichelli has written for over 150 magazines (like Redbook and Health), 30 corporate clients (like Sprint and OnStar), and she typically earns $250 per hour. Over at her Renegade Writer blog, you can join the email list to receive two free e-books for freelance writers as well as get her insightful and advice-packed Monday Motivations for Writers emails.