It was already a powerful, moving piece, so I told her she should ask a different question: "Where else can I submit it?"
There are four main ways I respond to rejection, whether as a writer or in other aspects of life, and I bet many of you have had the same experience. Here they are:
- As a writer, I submit material that isn't ready and then blame the publisher for not recognizing my "brilliant" work. In life, I sometimes blame others for rejection rather than asking whether my actions were ill-thought-out and easily misunderstood.
- Better is the opposite response. As a writer, I may realize that my material wasn't ready to be submitted and use the rejection as an opportunity to rework and improve it. In life, I may realize that the fault lies at least partly with me and attempt to correct the situation.
- Then there are those instances where I submit a polished manuscript but respond to a rejection letter by asking, "how do I fix?" when the correct question is, "where else can I submit it?" This was my friend's reaction. In life, I may try to "fix" something by conforming to the world's standards when the correct response is to reject those standards and keep going.
- And sometimes I do. As a writer, I may recognize that I had submitted a polished manuscript and look for other places to submit it. Only God can create something that is perfect, and there comes a time in any manuscript when I need to stop making changes and simply keep submitting. In life, I need to accept that I will never be perfect in this world but press on anyway.