How Do You Handle Rejection?

I’m having trouble controlling my inner dialogue lately and have been quite unkind to myself. Silly Shame spiral. I had a couple of disappointments the last few days. Nothing big; another rejection from a publisher, but this time with feedback. “Story and storytelling nothing new” “Well-trodden narrative ground” “Clunky dialogue” “Flashbacks sentimental and overwrought” Ouch. I knew rejection was part of this gig when I started down the road of trying to get my book published, but that doesn’t make it suck any less when it happens. I thanked the publisher and told her I knew I should have written unicorns into the story. See! I can still be clever in the face of criticism!

Stress Eating

I used to be a stress starver but middle age has reversed my coping mechanism. I am now a stress eater, as evidenced by the extra 12 pounds I’m trying to cram into my ill-fitting pants. People out there who think my writing sucks, as well as the knowledge that someone in particular thinks I suck, manifested itself into uncontrolled eating. This further exacerbated the “you are a complete loser” voice in my head. Ugh. The meal isn’t over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself. I have a cold and the weather is gloomy. You get the idea.

So this is what I did: I wrote down all the overwrought and clunky complaints I have about myself on individual purple sticky notes: “I’m needy” “I can’t do anything right.” “My writing sucks” “I’m stupid” “I’m an unemployed loser” “I have a muffin top”. Limiting myself, I came up with 16 such complaints about my character.

On pink sticky notes I wrote down the positive things I think about myself: “I’ve been the weight I want to be before and I can get there again” “I’m funny” “I wrote a book” “I have incredible friendships” “I handled cancer with humor”.

I put the positive pink sticky note over the corresponding negative purple one. For instance, I put the pink “My blog stats are improving” over the purple “My blog is stupid” sticky. I was going to take the sticky notes and burn them symbolically on my sidewalk, but it’s snowing. I’m so pathetic I can’t even burn stuff right.

I decided to put the layered stickies on the back of my office door as a way of just sitting with them for a spell. Almost immediately, the bastards started falling off the door. You know, because they’re stickies. I re-read the notes each time one fell. “I’m creative” smothering “My stomach is pouchy”. Katniss came along and started playing with the stickies like I’d laced them with catnip. The infernal stickies are now all over my house ready for my husband to ask me tonight why I have Stuart Smalley Daily Affirmations lining the floors.

rejection