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I'M TICKLED YOU'Re HERE.
Hey, I’m Mikaela
I’ll never forget one of the most painful experiences of my writing life.
I was a college freelance writer working on a profile piece of a university donor. I didn’t research much beforehand and realized during the interview that he had climbed the ladder to CEO of a major oil company. (Major journalism no-no, by the way.)
Nonetheless, I pounded out an article I thought worthy of publication after my messer-than-should-have-been interview.
My editor asked me to review it with her in her office a few days later. I expected an encouraging assessment.
And you guessed it, I walked out with a red-soaked page.
I fought tears from her office to the bus stop. After a few days, I wrapped up her edits but then disappeared. I vowed on that fateful day to never write for them or anyone again.
I was 20. So I’m going to offer grace to myself for that. And obviously, I didn’t keep that vow.
But years later, I wish I had known a key lesson all of my writing classes did not teach me: to get comfortable with rejection. Every writer walks out with a red-soaked page. And, if I use it right, rejection can make me better.
I wish I knew life coach Brooke Castillo’s model to reframe negative circumstances and thoughts. Here’s how I handled the situation:
Circumstance: The editor ripped apart my work. Plus, I didn’t prepare well for the interview and showed myself as an amateur to this executive. Thought: I’m not a journalist and definitely not a writer. I’m pretending to be someone I’m not. Feeling: Discouragement. Failure. Action: Procrastinate to finish the edits. Vow to never write again. Result: Halt all progress, think less of my skills, and not further improve my writing.
Now, here’s how I wish I had handled it:
Circumstance: The editor ripped apart my work. Plus, I didn’t prepare well for the interview and showed myself as an amateur to this executive. Thought: Every writer feels the sting of a red-soaked page. This is the process. It doesn’t mean I’m not supposed to be a writer. This is the job of a writer! Feeling: Challenged. Encouraged. Excited. Action: Finish work and ask for more feedback if given the opportunity to write again. Result: Who knows! I could’ve received more articles to write or made stronger professional connections. But above all else, I would have gained a healthier mindset and stronger perseverance about my writing.
Replacing these thoughts requires intentionality and a deep belief that God loves you no matter your performance.
So the next time you feel the blunt punch to the gut of rejection, do these three things:
Feel the emotion of it. It’s OK to cry or swear to never write again.
Lean into it. What thoughts are you thinking? What better ones can you replace them with? Use Brooke’s model above!
Learn from it. How does this rejection hone your voice? How does it help you know your reader more?
Seeing rejection not as a personal attack on you, but instead as valuable information will mold you into the powerhouse, Jesus-loving writer you want to be.
I’m Mikaela - your writing coach + editor
I help women confidently and joyfully publish their books.
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