As a writer, rejection becomes part of your world very quickly. It starts with you rejecting things you've written until finally, FINALLY, something comes through your keyboard that you are happy enough with to show to someone else. From there, the rejections just keep coming. There are many different types of rejections.
1. The Straight Rejection
For writers this usually comes in one of two forms: the form rejection from an agent or editor and the "I just don't get it." from an early reader. There isn't much you can do about these rejections except suck it up, go back to your computer, and see if you can make it better.
2. The Assumed Rejection
Similar to the straight rejection, this comes from the agent or editor with the policy that essentially says, if we don't call you assume we aren't interested. I always go ahead and enter "no" on my tracking spreadsheet.
There is nothing you can do about these two types of rejections and there is little room for misinterpreting them. They mean no. They mean something about your work wasn't ready, wasn't good, or wasn't what they wanted. You take your blows and either quit or see if you can do better next time.
But there is another type of rejection as well.
3. The Perceived Rejection
This is when you start decided other people have rejected you or your work when they haven't really said any such thing. I am so bad about this. I recently joined an online critique group. It is really difficult to see some submitted chapters getting critique after critique while mine just kind of sits there. There are submittals that get critiques turned in mere hours later, as if people just couldn't wait to get their hands on the next chapter. Mine doesn't get that kind of reaction.
So in my head I have decided everyone on their hates my work. There is NO GROUNDS for this way of thinking. None. There are a million reasons - okay maybe not a million but several - why my chapter isn't getting any action. Maybe I'm posting at a bad time and people aren't seeing it. Maybe they just aren't drawn to that time period or genre. Maybe they are already following so many stories they don't have time to add another to their plate. Or maybe they read it, didn't like it, and closed the document without doing a critique. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
Perceived Rejection happens in all areas of life - not just writing. I constantly find myself living life under the umbrella of perceived rejection. Maybe they don't look interested in what I'm saying because they think I'm boring. (Reality - they're teenagers and they stayed up half the night so they are half asleep.) Maybe they canceled the dinner party because they really don't want to hang out with me. (Reality - He really does have to work all day the next day.) I am tired of beating myself up over a maybe. If maybe is going to be a part of my life, I want it to actually do something for me.
Maybe they read my chapter, thought it was wonderful and they couldn't improve on it, so they didn't critique it. Maybe today will be the day that agent writes me back requesting a full proposal. Maybe today will be the day someone posts a comment on my fledgling little blog. ;)
Is it easy to kick that perceived rejection out of your life? Not at all. But maybe today will be the day you accomplish it.