Rejection. In many cases, an ugly word. None of us like being rejected. It feels like we're being shunned, refused, told we aren't good enough. Yet, as Christians, rejection is part and parcel of our being. The world rejected Christ, they will reject us too. As impeccable as His character is, He even tells us to expect it.
As Christian writers, we amplify the cruelty by necessity: the query letter, the book proposal, the pitch. Every time we enter the coliseum and face the roaring, bloodthirsty crowd, we risk rejection--again. What's worse, we do it on purpose! It's part of the job, goes with the territory, it's stuck to us like glue (to name a few appropriate cliches). Understanding this is part of the job. We mature, internally secure individuals behave logically and learn to receive rejection well, right?
I just finished reading a blog of a well-respected, multi-published author sharing how he was in a bad mood because of a rejection. Thank-you, Jesus, I know he's human. I appreciated his frankness and transparency. Yet, in reading his experience and encouragement, I was struck by another thought: eyes.
Where do we focus our eyes? Let me share something. If you send out your best writing ever and it is still rejected, it doesn't mean it's not your best writing ever. It means the publisher is saying, "No, thank-you." It may not fit their line, it may be they already have a similar one that beat you to the punch. It may mean God wants the manuscript to go elsewhere. Publishing is full of stories of wildly successful books that were first refused by other publishing houses--sometimes several houses. Rejection didn't make the writing bad.
As a Christian, I also ask: What are we focusing on? Is it to write well to bring glory to God? That is the reason a Christian should write. It has supremacy over every other single reason. It is the one clarion difference between the secular writer and Christian writer. If this is not your one guiding, passion, maybe it's time to reconsider why you write. Maybe it's time to reconsider writing to a Christian market.
If we purpose to write for His glory first, rejections are easier to process. If God is truly in control of your writing, shouldn't He get to decide where your manuscript goes? This scripture may help to keep our perspective clear: The earth is the Lord's and all its fullness. All of it.
Everything belongs to Him--even you, even your writing. When we focus on rejection and its accompanying emotional impact, we've been tricked into dwelling on the wrong thing. Feel the sting, turn it over to God and remember that He's in control. It is a healthy way to process rejection. Many writers give up before they ever experience success. Many writers quit because they no longer experience success. Have you learned to focus on the wrong thing?
Let me encourage you to keep three things in mind: First, don't take rejection personal. They aren't rejecting you, they are saying, "No, thank-you, to your work." Second, prepare yourself before you open the letter. Talk with the Lord, ask Him to prepare your heart for whatever may come. Third, let God be in control of your writing--all of it, every aspect of it. Even the refusals.
Bringing glory to God in your rejections is as necessary as bring glory to Him in your successes.