I don’t know if you’re a big Something’s Gotta Give fan like me. But if you are, you know every single line, every heartbreaking sentence and LOL phrase that made Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson sing on-screen together.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways (the writing, the setting, the fact that Diane played a screenwriter). One of my favorites, however is her genuine vulnerability reflected when she’s with Jack’s character Harry. There’s one scene that does it for me every time. Harry and Erica are in New York when she catches having dinner with a younger woman. She runs out of the restaurant and Harry follows her. She tells him how heartbroken she is, looks at him and says, “What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do with all of this?”
The reason why I bring up this particular line is that it perfectly captures the emotion engendered from rejection. It feels as devastating as a heartbreak. No matter how many times we’ve been rejected, it’s still a bitter pill to swallow.
After you’ve been rejected, after you put hundreds of hours in your work, after you allowed yourself to be vulnerable by showing off your work, what do you with all of this?
In Toxic Criticism, Eric Maisel says one way to soothe your wounded ego is to write yourself a “Dear critic” letter. It’s not to be sent or even shown. It’s a way to release the hurt, pain, and anguish that often accompanies rejection. For that reason, feel free to let your emotions go. Tell your editor how disappointed you were. Explain to that potential agent how dumb they were to pass up your book. Let them have it and when you’re through, rip it up and release those demons. And when you’re ready, get back on the writing saddle again. We’ll be waiting for you.