Why Do I Fear Rejection?

28 09 2009

Lauren Barnholdt just posted a great link to a blog about rejections. It got me thinking. If I hung my rejection letters side by side, I wonder how much footage they’d take up. But that led me to a different thought. How long would my string of acceptances be?

I’ve written more than 850 articles for magazines, educational publishers, and websites, plus I’ve sold several books. So I’ve had quite a few acceptance letters. Obviously, some letters (or emails) asked me to write more than one article, but still, let’s say I had 400 acceptances. If I multiply that by 8.5″, I have at least 3400″ of acceptances–or about 283′. Hmmm… And I’m guessing I have about 100-150 rejections, which gives me 1275″ of rejections or about 106′.

So why am I scared to send things out? Odds are, I’m much more likely to get an acceptance. But I still dread it.

I spent this past weekend at the SCBWI Carolinas conference, where several people urged me to send out my picture book dummy. I hate to say how long I’ve had that dummy worked up. I’d been dreaming of doing it for years. Back in the early 2000s an editor at a large publishing house expressed an interest in the text. She said she had the perfect illustrator in mind for it. I was thrilled. But before it was contracted, she left publishing. And there went my dream.

I turned back to magazine and educational writing, which blossomed into my career. But that picture book kept nagging at me. I took a picture book illustration class with Robert Quackenbush, and he liked that text and urged me to illustrate it. I was too scared and sure I couldn’t do it justice, so I illustrated a humorous easy reader with cartoons.

Several years later I took another illustration class with Matt Novak. Once again, I was encouraged to illustrate this text. I took the plunge. I spent hours on detailed pastels that my classmates praised. I even received an “A” in the class for my work. So why almost 5 years later is that picture book dummy still sitting in my art cupboard?

I dusted it off this summer and took it to an SCBWI critique group organized by Lauren Patton. Again, I was encouraged to send it off. But this fall it was still sitting in my cupboard. It went with me to the SCBWI Carolinas conference, where once again I heard I needed to send it off. So now I’m trying hard to talk myself into it.

OK, I followed the suggestion in the blog and hung up all my rejection letters. Then I hung up all the acceptances. So now I have to ask myself: if people who have only received rejection letters so far can keep on submitting, why can’t I??

Ooh, better go send it out quickly, before my internal critic can think of any negative replies. Anyone else have this problem?? Or these fears of rejection??



One response

2 10 2009

Did you send it?? Say you did. 😉

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