When I started studying up on the steps to becoming a successful author, the number one advice I saw from authors was “develop a thick skin.” Why?
For aspiring young authors, nothing hurts more perhaps than the pain of seeing a publisher reject our book, a magazine reject our article–complete with a list of reasons why our book is awful, our writing is awful, and we’re awful.
Isn’t God supposed to use everything? Didn’t we work very hard–staying up entire nights fueled by Starbucks lattes–just to finish that one chapter? Doesn’t our work count for anything?
The answer is yes. And here is how God uses rejection for good.
#1. Rejection makes success sweeter.
After being told no, no, no, no, no concerning your request to, say, go to the pool, doesn’t the one yes feel so much more meaningful? Aren’t you inclined to enjoy your time at the pool to the fullest instead of taking the privilege for granted? When we get success, we need to know how to use it the right way.
Using success the wrong way is the moment you are accepted, published, finished–you take your hands off the project, believe pridefully that it’s as good as it could possibly be and stop trying to get better and give your readers the best quality that you can.
Your writing might even become less meaningful to your readers. Remember that your readers are going to be influenced by what they read, and you want that influence to be a good influence. Rejection makes you prize success more, which gives you the drive to do a better job.
#2. Rejection makes us better as writers.
It may not have occurred to us that the readers reading our book aren’t carbon copies of us.
However, this is good. This means that others can catch flaws in your writing that you may have considered irrelevant, and that one plot mistake you were obsessing over isn’t maybe that important after all.
The people reading your work are readers, not yourself. They know better than you how to correct your work because they are the people that will be reading your book.
If you choose only to accept your own criticism, it’s like you’re writing the book for yourself, not others.
Besides, after you’ve had a while to unbiasedly contemplate your work, you might realize that it isn’t even as acceptable as you want–not something you would read in the bookstore–and then aren’t you glad for rejection? It’s a small mercy that way.
#3. Rejection makes us better as people.
Life has wins and losses. And learning how to accept losses is one key to having a successful life in general.
Not to mention that mean, cruel people are another thing that we have to deal with in life and even though the publishers who rejected our book aren’t mean, cruel people, they may seem that way to us. And learning how to handle them will help us handle real unkindness later in life.
Another thing is that we don’t learn anything by winning.
If our entire lives were win, win, win, success, success, success, we would be shallow, prideful, two dimensional people unable to relate to the pain of others.
In addition, we wouldn’t be living up to our full potential. Loss teaches us something. Correction teaches us even more. Correction teaches us how to improve, loss teaches us how to be better. Learning how to accept correction, by the way, is one identifiable trait of being wise, and now I understand why.
In a way, I almost prefer losing to winning–with knowledge that one day, we will win.
And the reason we win might be because we were able to accept loss and correction.