Tackling the rejection blues

Confession: Hi everyone. I’m a writer and I have an inner running back.

It’s not a peduncled growth scooting along on my body. Good guess, but no. It’s a position on a football team and I have an imaginary one.

I was able to make the leap from writer to author because my inner running back wouldn’t let me give into the rejection blues. My second book, Omega Rising, wouldn’t be coming out in two weeks without it.

Oh no, you’re thinking, this post is about football about which I care diddly-squat. First of all, football and writing are surprisingly connected. And second, football is awesome.  GO BEARS!

In football, the running backs take a lot of punishment in pursuit of their ultimate goal – scoring. Their job is to take the hand-off from the quarterback and find a way through the defense, whose job it is to stop the run.  It’s called grind-it-out football. Yes, it’s a thing. Google it. A running back gets tackled a lot. A helluva lot.

I see you are beginning to make the connection.

Succeeding at writing is freaking hard. Writers get tackled. Perhaps not body slammed to the turf by several 280-pound angry men in pads and helmets (if that is the case with you I must point out you are doing this writing thing ALL WRONG), but tackled nonetheless.

Rejections = tackles. Rejections bruise our pride and rattle our confidence. It can have the emotional impact of being steam-rolled by a defensive line. Writing is hard. We are rejected. Running backs are rejected at the line of scrimmage ALL THE TIME.

It takes courage to submit our words out there then wait to deemed worthy or unworthy by strangers. The fact you can do this at all makes you a badass already. Take a bow. You’ve earned it.

It’s hard to remember that a rejection is a business decision. It is simply a no-thank-you-it’s-not-right-for-us-at-this-time. Or in the case of a RB, no-you-shall-not-gain-yards-on-this-play-in-fact-you-lose-yards-now-haha-boom.

(For those non-football folks still reading that’s a terrible outcome for your team which causes people to throw down their chicken wings in disgust and yell at the TV)

It is NOT omg-what-in-the-name-of-all-that’s-holy-was-this-hot-garbage-you-submitted-we-vomited-after-reading-it-you’re-awful.

Your inner running back already knows rejection, while sucky, isn’t personal.   Do RBs give up? Um, big fat NO THEY DO NOT. They get back into the huddle to grind it out a few yards at a time.

And yes I know they get paid millions but they also have a love of the game and a burn to succeed, just like…wait for it, you know it’s coming… writers who want to be successful authors.

My personal inner RB drops an F-bomb or a ten after a rejection because it clears my angst allowing me to evaluate the “no thanks”, learn from it if someone took the time to offer encouragement, then put it aside and write on. You can take a page from Stephen King and nail those rejections to the wall. Shoot at ’em with a staple gun. Let your dog eat them then excavate the paper from a steaming turd pile and offer it to the poop muse. Whatever.

It can’t stop you because you are a badass. Try again. Practice harder. Get better. Get back in the huddle. Try again. And again. Until you find that hole in the defense  and slip through. Get your end zone dance ready.