“Thanks but no thanks.”
“It’s not right for us.”
These are all words I hear on almost a daily basis. Most people will cringe and sink further into their seat if they saw these in their inbox everyday. But I love every single minute of it. It’s not because my favorite word is “no.” (It’s not.) And it’s not because I enjoy failure. It’s because every single one of those rejections I stumble upon in my email is a little glimmer of hope that I am getting somewhere.
Let me explain. I work in the media. A majority of my day is spent sending out cold pitches to magazine editors who don’t even know I exist. This happens to be the routine of millions of other freelance writers around the world. That means editors get hundreds of emails sent to their inbox on a daily basis by people they don’t know. Chances of them actually opening my email are slim. But every once in a while a miracle happens and an editor glides her coveted mouse over to my email and clicks on it. Now most of the time, I get nothing in return. If I’m really lucky I’ll get a glowing response that says, “I love your idea. How about writing for the upcoming mother’s day issue for $2.00 per word.” But most of the time, if I get any response at all it’s, “I’m not interested at this time, but thanks for thinking of us.”
Of course, I would have preferred to get the uplifting response offering me an assignment. But I’ll take the rejection email too. Although it’s not as obvious, the “bad” email means something too. It means that out of the hundreds of emails the editor got, she thought my email pitch was worth opening. And even though the pitch wasn’t worthy of publication she did think it was worth a response. She could of easily deleted my email and went on her way without giving me a second thought. But to that editor, I was more than just an anonymous girl who sent her a failed pitch. I was a girl that took a chance and at least deserved a response. It was proof that I must have done something right. More importantly that rejection was the beginning of a new relationship.
See, I knew that if that coveted editor read and responded to one email the chances of her reading and responding to another one of my emails was heightened. So rather than taking that rejection as a sign of defeat and failure, I flip it and turn it into the beautiful beginning of a new relationship and a dream. It’s my cue to start pitching and emailing that editor as though my life depended it. Even more importantly, it’s a sign to not give up. And nearly 100% of the time, those signs are correct.
It was a few months ago that I got my rejection letter from an editor at REDBOOK magazine. I didn’t give up hope. I continued to forge a relationship with that editor through consistent emails and conversations. And then one day, a dream came true. I was offered my dream assignment and my article was featured in the August issue of REDBOOK.
Just goes to show you that my favorite words to live by are true. You can’t fail if you don’t quit. And to think it all started with a rejection letter…
When was rejection a sign of better things to come in your career or personal life?
TERRIfic Quip: When things are falling apart they may actually be falling into place.