on pre-rejections and self-sabotaging

Chuck Wendig (yes, I realise I’m starting to quote him a lot) has something to say about pre-rejection today:


Pre-rejection, according to him, is what we do to ourselves before we have even begun a project. It’s essentially self-sabotage, where we thwart our chances of succeeding right from the get-go, because we’re too afraid of the actual rejection that MAY – and most probably will – come after putting our works out there as writers.

It’s easier to just not start and spare ourselves the angst and frustration, but then writing wouldn’t be the same without the debilitating self-doubt and headbanging despair.

This is Chuck’s solution to nixing the pre-rejection:

How do you defeat it?

Practice, for one. Stop thinking so much. Stop worrying. Start submitting. Editors need material. Agents need material. Readers need stories to read.

Let other people read the work. Let them send it out, if you must.

Don’t worry about the things you can’t control. Control what you can — and no, that doesn’t mean to pre-reject, it just means, write the best story, and find your feet with writing.

You didn’t get published, you didn’t win the award, you got a bad review.

Repeat after me:

That’s all right. I can try againI can get better.

But you have to give yourself the chance to try again.

You don’t get better by just chucking manuscripts in a drawer.

You need the agitation.

You need that fear, that uncertainty, that courage.

You need input from other human beings. Which means:

Fuck your pre-rejection.

You want to get rejected? Do it the old-fashioned way.

Let someone else reject you. Take your shot.

Look, the guy’s a prolific best-selling author. So if he says get over yourself and just write, I’d say we all do just that if we’re ever going to move ahead as writers, artists, and creators.


Peter Pan quote 3

An update on No Room in Neverland: I’m on page 202! Woohoo! Baby steps, that’s how I’m going about with this. Plan three chapters ahead, and then writing two and a half, so I can pick up from where I left off the next day. It worked for Lambs For Dinner, so I’m hoping it will this time too.

What about you? Is pre-rejection something you put yourself through? :0)


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