Friday, November 20, 2015

Best of the Archives: Handling the Letdowns

Myra Johnson
Myra here, welcoming you to another "Best of the Archives" Friday. Today's post originally appeared on August 12, 2008, but dealing with rejections, harsh critiques, and other writing disappointments is a fact of this life that isn't going away.

If you're struggling with how to handle your latest disappointment, I hope you'll find some encouragement in this post, along with helpful advice about facing those negative feelings and doing something positive instead.


A few weeks ago the local newspaper ran a feature describing do’s and don’ts for dealing with the breakup of a relationship. It struck me that some of these (or variations thereof) could also apply when we get a rejection, bad review, or painful contest critique. Here are Myra’s suggestions for handling the inevitable writing disappointments:
  • Do not, under any circumstances, make any life-altering decisions (such as throwing out your computer or burning all your manuscripts) until at least two weeks have passed. If you still don’t have any perspective, wait another two weeks. Or a month. Or a year.
  • Stay away from sharp objects. (Ask my kids about this one if you dare!)
  • Don’t post a YouTube video of you dissing the editor/agent/judge/reviewer.
  • Don’t send a hate e-mail or text message. Even anonymously. Tech experts have ways of finding out who you are. Just watch CSI or NCIS if you don’t believe me.
  • If you must blog about your disappointment, thoroughly disguise the details and certainly don’t name names! The Internet has a long, l-o-o-o-o-n-g memory. Better yet, avoid any kind of Internet-related commentary. Eat chocolate until the urge passes.
  • Don’t badmouth editors, agents, or fellow writers to your writers group. You will be the one who ends up looking like Miss (or Mr.) Whiny-Pants.
  • Vent only to someone you are absolutely 310% positive would never, ever reveal a confidence, even if tortured with chocolate deprivation or offered a three-book contract if only she will reveal your secrets. And then think twice about it.
  • Mailing anthrax will get you 20 years to life. Mailing chocolate makes friends. Unless it melts.
  • Don’t try to change your detractor’s mind with pleading, wheedling, begging, or threats. See chocolate advice above.
  • If you run into this person at a writers conference, be polite, friendly, and professional. Your reputation is on the line at this point, not theirs. You never know who may be watching. Like maybe the agent who was seconds away from signing you.
  • Send a gracious thank-you note, no matter how badly you’re hurting. As the Bible says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you” (Prov. 25:21-22). If not with a six-figure contract offer, at least with enough $$ to buy yourself a grande mocha latte.
Okay, readers, anything you’d add to the list? Any blunders you’d like to confess? Any public apologies you feel compelled to make, anonymously or otherwise?

While you’re thinking about it, I’ll pass around this mega-sized box of Godiva chocolates I just opened. Help yourselves . . . especially anyone I may have inadvertently whined about at some point in my career.


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Enjoy the post and spend the day writing and reading.
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Comments are closed today.
Enjoy the post and spend the day writing and reading!

(And if you happen to pick up one of my latest releases, 
I would be very, very happy!)