Occasionally I’ll read about some creative type who’s apparently so well-adjusted that he sees having his work rejected as just another event, one bead on a long string of similar beads; in other words, the rejection has no more (nor less) meaning than having his work accepted.
I confess, I can only stand back and admire such creatures. And wonder what planet they come from.
Because frankly, when I toiled in the screenwriting vineyards, I wanted people not only to accept what I wrote, but like it. A lot. Hell, I wanted them to love it. (Even while acknowledging the well-known truism that, at a certain level, they could never love it enough…)
On the other hand, having my work rejected was cause for anguish of near-Biblical proportions—the familiar gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, etc. On one such occasion, a friend of mine looked at me and said, somewhat testily, “For God’s sake, don’t take it personally.”
“How should I take it?” I replied. “Impersonally?”
That, in a nutshell, is the paradox of rejection. It isn’t intended as personal, but it’s impossible not to experience it that way.
Let me give you an example. Years ago, as part of the writing staff on a popular sitcom, I joined the producers in a casting session, auditioning actresses for a guest shot on the show. After seeing about a dozen young women read, we chose one. Later, on my way out of the building, I happened to overhear a couple of the others walking away, dejected…..”