Rejection is not something I like to deal with but as an illustrator/writer it is an unfortunate part of life. I have to admit that while it still hurts I have learned to not take it too personally. Sure I still sulk and OD on chocolate but after a bit I brush my ego off and am back in the game. After all the only way to avoid Rejection is to take yourself out of the game and that is not an option unless you're retiring. Here are a few of my antidotes in random order. If you are an illustrator or writer please feel free to comment on how you have dealt with rejection. Let's learn from each other.
1 - Submit more stuff pronto. Yup, sounds counterintuitive but this actually works. You don't have to submit the project that just got rejected right out -but submit something, anything ASAP. Everyone of your submissions represents hope. If you have a lot of submissions floating around out there it's more likely that something will come back accepted. Don't put all your dreams into one project submitted to only one company.
2 - Work on a new idea - even better fall in love with your new project. Keeps your mind on something positive and moving forward.
3. Focus on the process not the result. Make it into a game. Right now I'm challenging myself to submit something weekly. It can be an art sample pack, a poem to a kid's magazine or a Picture book dummy /manuscript proposal, whatever. The weekly question of "Who am I submitting to and what" keeps me moving and the checking off - "Yay, I did it" helps give me a mental boost. It also makes me realize that I need to create more things so it's easier to to submit weekly. Another challenge to try is: Submit 10 different projects to 10 different places in 10 weeks.
4. Plan for rejection. When you submit a project have a plan B. Research who else maybe interested in your project and have their info ready just incase you need it.
5. Accept it when they say the style doesn't suit their needs at the moment. They didn't say you are a terrible person. They just were not into your work. Move on. Someone else may love your style.
6. Wallow in the Rejection. When all else fails OD on the chocolates and hide under the blankets just set a time limit -an hour, a day or even 2. Allow yourself to feel sorry for yourself and your project, even shed a few tears - you're human - just remember to get back on track, ASAP.
7. Learn from your mistakes. Take a cold hard look at your proposal. Is there room for improvement? Revise, fix as needed and send it out to your plan B.
8. Work on your craft. One day, you may be pleasantly horrified by some of your earlier rejected projects and agree with the editors.
9. Diversify. Learn new things. Keeps life interesting. Your writing may be selling at the moment but your illustration may not, but at least something is getting a positive response. This also allows you to submit to different markets.
10. Adapt. There maybe nothing wrong with your project. It could be something you can't help like the economy or the market. Be willing to repurpose your art. So the picture book market is down maybe adapt the story for an early reader or chapter book Or try working on art for an older market.
It should also be noted that in this day and age where many companies are no longer responding to submissions unless they are interested, a rejection at least is a concrete response. I personally find the lack of response more unnerving than a definite yay or nay.