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Jul 1, 2010

You're Going To Be Eaten By Hyenas



Over at BookEnds, LLC, a writer asked, "Does It Get Any Better?"
My dilemma is this; I seem to have lost the joy to write anything. When I was writing my novel, I was divinely engrossed in doing so. I was so eager to see what was going to happen myself that I stayed up till 4am almost every morning writing (even though I had to wake up with my 2 year old and go to work). I continuously did research on writing, querying, etc. I loved it. After I sent my queries, I was excited every time I saw the light flashing on my blackberry. Then with each passing rejection, it felt like someone was twisting a knife in my gut a little more each time. Now, I literally hate opening my e-mail. I still have several more responses I’m waiting on, and I’m dreading them. It's like these rejections are pretty much a slap in the face.

The replies in the comment section overflowed, so I will post my own thoughts here. Many of the other writers offer good advice.

My own answer? The more rejections you accumulate, the easier it is to deal with.

Except when it's not.

I wanted to dig deeper into this phenomena, though. Why does rejection of a personal creative work hurt so much? Logically, it really shouldn't. It's not like someone has taken a hacksaw, amputated your left leg and rubbed the stump in unsweetened lemonade. It's not even like you just caught your boyfriend with his pants down in the bed of the bimbo next door. But try telling that to your brain when you see the words, "After careful evaluation, I have decided that I am not the right agent to represent your work." Sticking your bloody stump leg in lemonade made by your cheating boyfriend is starting to look pretty good in comparison. And that's friggin' crazy.

I think it dates back to when we all lived in bands of hunter-gatherers on the plains of Africa. Back in those days, if you kept doing something meant to entertain and please the rest of your clan, and they replied again and again, "Get lost!" you would be in trouble. Because in those days, "get lost" meant you would literally get lost after the rest of the tribe kicked you out for repeatedly annoying them. If they rejected you, you would find yourself wandering all by your lonesome on the Serengeti. It would be only a matter of time before some Big Bad stalked you, chased you down, ripped your limbs off one by one and devoured you, perhaps while you were still alive.

So the horrible feeling where you want to crawl into a cave and hide, and perhaps throw rocks at strangers, is perfectly understandable. It's just nature's way of warning you social rejection means you're going to be eaten by hyenas.

7 comments:

scott g.f.bailey said...

I think you're on to something here. Because social rejection does feel--for a lot of us anyway--like death. Huh. Interesting.

Anthony said...

Heh! I love this post.

Fear of rejection is a biological-based fear, that's for sure.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

At least that's one explanation! I think rejection of anything creative is going to hurt because it's a leap of courage just to create the damn thing in the first place. And you're usually doing it at some sort of expense, so to have it thrown back in your face stings just a tad...

Ban said...

afraid my view differs a bit. I believe we are all born with the desire to 'create' whether that be a family, a story, a sculpture, a pimped ride, a lovely garden, a great meal ... you get the idea. When someone rejects something you've created it's in essence a rejection of one's inner self. You are that book - you are those characters - they live in your head. When someone says they don't like - they ARE in fact saying they don't like a part of you - however small or big that part my be.

Tara Maya said...

I agree with the first part of your statement, Ban. I think I'll write a new post concerning the other half.

Ban said...

oh, good. I understand what I said was a bit harsh and of course someone can like 'you' and not your story but I figured you'd all get what I meant even if I phrased it this way.

Tara Maya said...

Nah, it wasn't harsh at all. And I did get what you meant. I feel the same way.