100 rejection project: 3 lessons no one will share with you
If you listen to Onward Creative podcasts, which you should, you can find me chatting with Jack on episode 3 of season 2.
Near the end of the episode, Jack & I discussed my 100 rejection project. What on earth is that you ask? Well, it’s quite simple. My goal is to submit to enough publications to get 100 “No’s” by the end of the year. Sounds pretty crazy right?
Now, why would I want to get rejected? Glad you asked. Truth is, I don’t. No one does. Despite my tough-enough outer shell, my inner 5 year old always screams and tantrums when I get a rejection. Why? Well, it doesn’t really feel good does it?
No one wants to be rejected. Yet it happens to all of us some of the time. The idea here is that if you aim at accumulating rejections (as opposed to being published) you won’t feel as bad when it happens. It’ll be like checking something off the grocery list. It’ll be easier to move on.
Most of us are gentle creative creatures and we hate to have our work criticised. We think we’re the best at what we do… and some of us are. Yet, for the remaining mere mortals among us, rejection also offers some good lessons.
Humility is a big one. Getting rejected makes you realize that you’re not a perfect fit for everyone and that’s A-OKAY! Take TNW as an example. Great fit for busy mindful moms, lifestyle focused entrepreneurs and even some university students who want to eat better but don’t know how. Not so great for, well, almost everyone else.
Accepting that your offer isn’t perfect or perfect for everyone gives you room to grow, fix and create. Wonderful. It also gives you a leg up, because knowing you’re not better than anyone else gives you the chance to connect with your clients on a deeper, more human level. If they feel like they are your peers they are more likely to open up and tell you what they really want, which in turn you can use to sell them what they really need.
Patience is another huge one. Everyone wants to get published in HuffPost or some other fancy place, but odds are, there are things you need to learn about your business and yourself before you get there. When you submit and get rejected by smaller publications, they will often tell you why you’re not a good fit. Which gives you grounds to build on for larger pitches. Yea!
Even me, after 40 or so rejections, I have things to learn. I wouldn’t mind getting published in something national (or even international) but I know that there’s still a few ducks I need to get into a row before that will happen. So with a little patience and some elbow grease, there’s no saying where this could go!
Love Note: I’m not saying don’t try for the big leagues. By all means, do. I’m just saying that if you get coverage today, in some huge mainstream publication, what first impression would you give the world? That first impression is all you get.
Being backwards gets results Sometimes, going against the grain gets results. The rejection project is the perfect example of this. Even though you’re aiming at the rejection pile, you should always be submitting your best work and trying to make the best first impression possible.
Odds are, if you’re really dedicated to it, you’ll also get published, a lot. That’s the beauty of it really, you’re getting the best of both worlds. You’re building your stamina, growing your audience, getting published and coming out unscathed because you shifted your mindset away from “what if they don’t like me” to “this is going to be so awesome, and if they don’t like me someone else will”. So good.
If you want IN on the 100 rejections project, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to chat with you about getting your stories published.
Big love, Mel