Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thoughtful About . . . Rejection

 Now hope does not disappoint,because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 
~Romans 5:5

Rejection. In the writing industry it's something we all face, and so it's something that I've written about before. In fact, in February of 2010 I had another post titled "Thoughtful About . . . Rejection," all about how the Love Finds You series turned down one of my contemporaries. It was still very fresh when I wrote that . . . so obviously I didn't know that it would lead to them accepting my historical. Obviously I didn't know that that was exactly what needed to happen, so that I got the grounding in the genre I love best. Obviously I didn't know the disappointment wouldn't last long . . . 

And that's just the thing. We never know, do we? That's why in Romans 5 Paul can speak so definitively of hope. We never know what's coming down the road. No one does. But what sets those of faith apart is that we trust in the Engineer who built that road. We know that our tears  make us try harder--that trying harder makes us stronger. And that when we're stronger, we can hope. (To paraphrase verse 3 of that chapter...)

The other day one of my good friends got some bad news. A rejection we really hadn't expected, one that floored me so had to have been devastating for her. Now, as rejections go, it was a good one--the editor loved her, loved her writing, the book was just too similar to another title. And another editor had already asked her agent to send it over NOW. That's good...but does it help in the moment?

A little. But, as someone who's been there, I know well it doesn't take the pain away, not even by half.

As I talked to my friend, I wished I had magic words to make it all better. I wish I could take a peek into the future so I could tell her how it all worked out. Wouldn't that be nice? I mean, it would have been great to know, when I pitched an idea to one editor that got promptly shot down last spring, that I shouldn't have shelved the idea, that another editor would love it so much that she'd break her own rules to get it picked up by her company. (That would be Ring of Secrets, by the way...)

All I could offer her was the usual. "You're awesome. And this stinks, but you know, we just don't know how it'll end up. I know we thought this would be it, but since it's not, it just means something else is. Maybe she'll acquire another one. I mean, no one has ever bought the first thing I pitched them."

That at least got a chuckle--it's so very true! Each of my big releases was prefaced by the editor rejecting something else but asking to see more. And as an editor, I can attest to that phenomenon too. WhiteFire just acquired a contemporary title that was the second one I'd seen from someone. It's a matter of matching.

And it's a matter of picking yourself up when you fall down and saying, "Okay, well, what else can we do here?"

Never-ever is rejection going to be nice. But we do have a Friend who can peek into the future. And though He doesn't often just tell us outright how it's going to work out, He whispers His peace into us, if we pause long enough to hear it. And though sometimes we feel too weary to tread that road any longer, He's there then too. With His arms stretched out, saying, "Then let me carry you, baby. We'll get there together."

Don't give up. Keep striding, knowing that that bump produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. Knowing that that hope never disappoints--because it's grounded in something that never shifts, never changes. Something that isn't subjective, that isn't a matter of opinion. 

It's grounded in God's love.


  1. Beautiful reflections Roseanna. Beautiful reminders. Thank you! <3

  2. Thank you, Roseanna. I needed this perspective. Beautiful and needed reminder.

  3. Thank you, Roseanna. As I look back through rejections I've received, a no that felt devastating at the time led to a YES in a bigger, better place. This post was a wonderful reminder for me :)

  4. Thirty years ago I collected over twenty rejections for a secular story. Went back to grad school. Wrote a master's thesis. Then a dissertation. Am just starting on the work for my third three-book proposal and am waiting to hear about the last proposal. Just got some feedback from an editor last night via my agent. Rejection isn't a rejection of yourself but of your work at that time. I pray your friend's MS finds its way to where it is supposed to be and that she will have peace in the midst of this recent disappointment. Sounds like God already gave her another door to go through!!!