A friend of mine posted this article: How Rejection Breeds Creativity, on Facebook the other day, in response to me saying I was happy about my latest rejection.
I’ve definitely experienced this in my creative life. My earliest memory is of being told myself and a friend (who is now a brilliant musician and teacher of music) would be going into the “remedial” flute classes with the younger students. Basically because our first flute teacher was a horrible old man who taught us to loathe music, so we never bothered practicing. We both fired up when we heard that (from a different teacher), knuckled down and became very good at the flute. I went on to do a Bachelor of Music at university, and as I said, she is working in that field now.
This has also happened to me in my writing, but it wasn’t external rejection that caused problems. It was teenage me, writing pages and pages of a novel, then reading what I’d written and being so unhappy that it wasn’t perfect that I’d give up. For me, internal rejection is far more damaging. External rejection just fires me up with an “upwards and onwards” mentality. I started writing again because my partner of 12 years left me. I needed something to help organise the chaos in my mind, and art has always been a brilliant way for me to do this. It used to be painting, when I was a teenager (or poetry), but it was easier for me to write than crack out the paints. Now that I’ve learned that first drafts are just that—drafts—and that if I can edit other people’s work, I can surely edit my own (and call upon others for help), I’ve taken to writing with gusto.
And as every writer knows, submitting work leads to rejection. Well, I say, bring it on!