Tuesday, 15 January 2019

How To Avoid Rejection Blues - a guest post by Ruchi Singh


So someone has said no to your idea or story. A story, which you thought was very unique, a story which has been written painstakingly and lovingly, but the other person thinks it’s not worth anything. It shakes your confidence. It makes you second-guess everything you decide to take on. 
Being rejected does rankle!
But before delving deeper into the Blues let’s understand what is ‘Rejection’. 
Rejection, the word is pretty negative. It actually is. It means that someone doesn’t attach any importance to something which is very dear to your heart. It can be your choice, your emotions, your idea, or your story…
According to the Oxford dictionary, Rejection has two simple definitions;
1) The dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc.
2) The action of spurning a person's affections.
The two definitions are addressing two different spheres of life, but in the case of a writer, the pain is almost the same for both :) 
There are various ways or levels of rejections. There would be a no response rejection. Agents, editors will not respond to your ideas. There will be no answering correspondence whatsoever on your query. The second one is simple; ‘your story does not fit into our production schedule’ or ‘we have a similar idea at our desk’. This one is the best. It tells you something about how the wind is blowing and you can fine-tune your own story or approach someone else. The third would be a negative or critical rejection which either says ‘rejected’ or is a feedback on the submission. No matter how polite it is worded this type of rejection will always cause pain. Let it. Accept that it will pull you down for a few hours, a few days… but no more. Go on the writing desk again and improve.
Being rejected does hurt! Yes, it does. 
And it’ll hurt every time. But, yes there is a but, its up to you to what degree you allow it to impact yourself. And there are ways to deal with it. We’ll be able to deal with it better if we understand the factors or reason behind it. Let’s dissect them one by one;
  • Understand that the idea is rejected not you as a person. The idea can be refined and rewritten, or another idea will click. Take rejection feedback as an opportunity to improve your manuscript.
  • Sometimes when an agent or publisher says ‘no’. It may not be a rejection of the idea, it might mean ‘no… not right now’. The market plays a very important role in getting the idea accepted.
  • Remember you might have pitched to a wrong person or the organization. Or maybe the agent or the editor is upset about something and has read your story at the wrong time. Believe me, moods or office politics do factor in while taking a decision.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the agent or the editor. Till the time they say ‘no’, they are safe, there is no risk involved. The moment they say ‘yes’ they are an equal owner of your unique idea and now the commercial aspect comes into the picture. So essentially if they are saying ‘no, it is not necessarily to your idea but it’s as per their risk-taking ability.
  • Every person gets rejected at least once in their lifetime. So it’s nothing new. I know it may sound harsh, but that’s a fact. JK Rowling got rejected by 12 publishing houses. Ashwin Sanghi, I heard him say, got rejected more than 40 times. I got rejected every time I had pitched my story to anyone. And from the reviews that my books get I have realized I am a good storyteller but a lousy idea seller. Yes your ability to sell the idea all plays an important role.
Being rejected does suck! Yes, it does, but don’t take it to your heart. We shouldn’t give up on our ideas just because someone else doesn’t see our vision. Stay on course and you might surprise everyone and yourself.
All the very best!
Ruchi Singh

About the Book
The Man
Security expert Nikhil Mahajan is in mortal danger. Gravely injured and unable to see, he is in the midst of hostile strangers in an unknown place. Any hope of survival is fast fading away. 

The Angel
Should an innocent man be allowed to die just because he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Someone has to intervene.

About the Author
Winner of TOI WriteIndia Season 1, Ruchi Singh is a novelist, and writes in two genres; romance and romantic thriller. A voracious reader, she loves everything—from classics to memoirs to editorials to chick-lit, but her favourite genre is ‘romantic thriller’. Besides writing and reading, her other interests include dabbling with Indian classical dance forms.



Sunday, 6 January 2019

Seven ways to a new beginning

drawing of words, new beginnings, 2019, hand drawing
Recently I wondered why people perceive time to go by faster. I mean clocks do not tick more swiftly, and the International standard for time, the second, is still the same. As an engineer, this puzzled me, and the answer I found is not a good one. It all has to do with our brains and the way we learn and challenge ourselves.
You can read more about that here, but this concerned me a bit when I sat down to figure out how I was going to structure my 'new life' after working for a boss for ten (plus) years.
Sure, I had been down this road before, but in my thirties. Now I am a decade older, and keeping the grey matter healthy is not just about time flying past anymore. I need to be on top of my game, and I want to be there for a long time to come.
So here are 7 things I found that are going to help me and my brain:
1. Set up a routine for more than work. People who are self-employed, especially at the start of their new venture into the business world, often overlook one crucial detail, their own wellbeing. Yes, the new business will take a considerable chunk out of your day, your week, and your life, but if you do not look out for number one, that business is going to become your nightmare, instead of the dream you wanted.
2. Put non-work reminders in your calendar too. The life of self-employment allows for one significant aspect of your life that other people don't have: control of your time. While many would argue that time is not within our control (if it was we would all schedule at least another two days every week), but what we do with our 24 hours is within our control. So schedule your kids' activities into your calendar, book that appointment for that back massage you desperately need and do that coffee with the friend you haven't seen in months. These non-work things will not only contribute to your own wellbeing, but they will make a difference in your relationships too.
3. Schedule alone time at least once a week. Looking at the world around us, one can safely assume that people are afraid of being on their own. The noise that bombards not only our ears every day, is frightening. Everywhere you go people have their eyes on their phones or tablets, and for those of us who don't, it is an obstacle course navigating the pavements or malls to avoid those people. So why alone time? Give your mind some rest too, will you? Give yourself a moment, or six, to just be a human being for a change instead of a social-media-selfie-addict-with-narcissistic-bluescreen-radiation-wave-patterns all over your face. You might actually meet someone interesting when your mind has a chance to reflect on itself.
4. Make an appointment with your future self. Business is built on risk-taking, but it is not a hit-and-miss situation. Companies plan for the future. They consider changes in the market, the expectations of their customers, and how they can stay ahead of the competition. It is called survival. Without future planning, a company is doomed to failure. The same goes for your life and your goals. While your dreams may change as you grow older, or you start to tick them off your bucket list, you need to spend some time to assess where your life is going. Is bungee jumping off that high bridge in a foreign country still something you want to do? People often regret the things they haven't done, but I think many people also regret the things they had continued to do because they let time go by. It is not just about big things like career changes, or relationships. Sometimes you only need to take a small step to put your goals back on track.
5. Don't put off your dreams to some future date. It will never happen! The oldest excuse if ever there was one: one day I am going to... All I can say, yeah right. Unless you are doing it right now, only you will believe that fairy tale. Make time to pursue that dream: write a book, take an art class, or learn the guitar. Life is too short to put things off until later.
6. Challenge your brain, learn something new. That time flying past thing mentioned earlier can only be counteracted if your brain is learning, and being challenged. Do not confuse learning with academic studies. Learn to play chess, or paint portraits, or do Sudoku puzzle competitions. Challenge those brain cells and time will no longer be a waste of days flying past without notice.
7. Be kind to yourself. While time is not going to wait for anyone, sometimes we need to give ourselves a bit more. Todo lists are notorious things. They are often the fabric of nightmares because you have the habit of making a long list, and at the end of the day nothing got done. It can be demotivating, to say the least. As a species, we tend to be overly optimistic and then have the habit of kicking our own selves because of it. So, pick one, maybe two things for your todo list today. And when you made them happen, pat yourself on the back. If not, take a moment to reflect why not. Procrastination is often the actual reason, but if it is not, then relax. You probably did two other things.

hand lettering, todo list words, colour drawing with brush pens
Self-employed people are often seen as living the dream, although it is not an easy life. But if the effort you put in, does not forsake the important things in life, then your life will be one of fulfilment, satisfaction, and contentment.
Sounds about perfect to me, and I will be working hard to get my own routine adjusted to suit my new beginnings.
Until next time!

💟 Linzé

The CreativeLife in review - planning, time management, and the creative life

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