By repeatedly putting ourselves in a position where we are rejected, we become less afraid and gradually bolder and stronger. “I realised my fear of being rejected was worse than the rejection itself,” he says. “I started losing my fear and had fun instead.”
If we don’t send out ideas because we persuade ourselves they’re not suitable and want to protect ourselves from the rejection we believe is inevitable, then we reject ourselves before the world has a chance to do so. Yet this is a numbers game, Jiang says, so we will eventually get a “yes”.
Rejection Can Be Redirection
What’s more, it’s not always about the idea you are putting forward. Many freelancers can quote an instance when a pitch was rejected by an editor who then offered them another, different commission. “Even if you’re getting rejected, that editor may be taking note of your work,” says Ferguson.
“Pitching is the first step in a relationship with an editor,’ says Susan Gray, an arts writer who regularly contributes to The Telegraph Weekend, Art Quarterly, and Church Times. She says that nothing is wasted. “Broadsheet arts pitches require a fair amount of research before pressing ‘send’ and if it’s a ‘thanks but no thanks’ or stoney silence response, it can feel that all the time and effort has been wasted. But it hasn’t, because the research feeds into my wider pool of knowledge.”
“Rejection can be a useful thing that can spur you forward,” agrees Tait. “If it deflates you and you think the editor is right, listen to that instinct — don’t let ego get in the way. But if you allow it, it can make you even more sure of your idea. Use that!”