As a writer, one has to develop a thicker skin because once you start sending your stories out into the world – whether to an agent, publisher, or other professional in the field – you’re going to deal with LOTS of big fat “No thank you’s.” This isn’t breaking news, though – we as writers had to already come to terms with this early on. But that doesn’t mean it gets any easier to see a new email in your inbox from a potential agent, excitedly click to read it, only for it to be a rejection.

But, as in dating, some rejections let you down much more easier than others. I’ve gotta say, I appreciate the ones that read something like, “I really liked your concept and story line, but I just didn’t connect as well with the protagonist as I’d hoped. So sorry, but I’m going to pass. Good luck, though! XOXO.” Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating about the “XoXo” part, but that’s the way the nicer ones make me feel – like the agent is saying, “You’re cute, but you’re just not my type.” Sure, it still stings, but I usually take these to heart, especially if they offer some specific feedback about how they think you could make your story stronger. I always jot their notes down, see if another agent says something similar, and then I know it may be time to go back and take another stab at my manuscript. Because honestly, no matter how polished I think my manuscript is, I’m sure there will always be room for improvement.

My least favorite rejections from agents are similar to the worst rejections in life: the generic, form rejection they send to everyone. You know, the ones that start, “Dear Author…thanks but no thanks. Peace out.” Okay, again, I’m exaggerating about the “peace out,” but you get what I mean. When I open a rejection email, I’m always sad when I don’t see my name typed out at the beginning. Note: I completely understand why this happens – agents receive tons and tons of queries daily, and this is so you can get a faster response than if they took the time to personalize each rejection – but woof, these definitely don’t give me the warm & fuzzies.

But on the flip side, the following is what I consider life’s form response equivalent. A few months ago I came in contact with a friend of a friend who I’ve “met” and been around at least three times previously. But as I was greeting this person – who even complimented my purse – she stuck out her hand, introduced herself, and said, “Nice to meet you.” I probably made the situation more awkward than necessary; as we were shaking hands, I mumbled, “Um, yeah, we’ve met before. A few times actually…” To which she, of course, apologized and pretended to remember who I am. I’ll be the first to admit I’m bad at remembering names – especially if I meet a group of people at once – but I never forget faces. But, after thinking about it later, I decided I shouldn’t be insulted by this. After all, maybe this girl just had a lot going on in her life – just like a super busy agent!

So, I guess the moral of this random blog entry is that writers (and humans in general) should try to not to get their feelings hurt when they’re slapped with rejections. Sure, some are nice and let you down easy, while some may try to get under your skin. But the important thing to remember – whether you are in the writing world or the dating world (or even both!) – is that all you need is one to say yes and take a chance on you. Just ONE! (Well, unless you practice polygamy, of course. And if that’s the case, may I just say eww?)

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