Once upon an adventure in procrastination, I found some truly stellar advice on how to deal with rejection: Get a spike.
Rejection letters are a necessary part of life, both in writing and in so many other realms in which we seek acceptance. And let me first say that I really do respect all editors. They have a tough job, and I appreciate the time they take to consider my work. I feel no anger towards them if my story wasn’t a good fit.
However, there is nothing that feels quite so satisfying as taking that symbol of failure and watching a hunk of sharpened metal rip through it.
As far as closure is concerned, this method has been a gold medal winner for me. Once the rejection is spiked, it’s time to dust myself off and either rewrite the story, or send it somewhere else. When I spike the rejection, it pulverizes the lingering sensation of ‘I’m not good enough.’ It’s symbolically proving to myself that I am stronger than the piece of paper.
Also, it is unbelievably fun!
This is my writing spike:
When I decided I wanted one, I found a formidable-looking railway spike (Don’t worry, I didn’t pull it out of the tracks or anything) and sharpened it, and added those red-paint drips (because why not?). You can’t really see, but the spike is also mounted in a wooden block.
It sits in my writing space, and as the papers grow upon it, I am reminded of how far I’ve come. It’s not a symbol of how often I’ve failed. It’s a symbol of how often I’ve made the decision to get back up from failure, and that makes all the difference.
I just wanted to boost the signal about the awesome idea of getting a spike, hoping that it will help some of you like it did for me. If anyone has a tried-and-true method of coping with rejection, feel free to pass it on in the comments!