I was waiting on a pass/go from a producer this week, and it occurred to me that the worst part was the not knowing. I was more deflated not hearing anything than I was with the inevitable rejection. It didn’t help that I knew the exact moment of the meeting which discussed the notion either.
It slipped me into neutral actually. I began to wonder if it was worth starting on something new in the meantime, if it meant abandoning it straight away. So I did nothing instead. Unless eating a house full of crisps counts as writing of course.
I’ve always liked to kid myself that professional rejection doesn’t bother me, but it’s slightly disingenuous to say that. Of course it does, how could it not? Months of work rejected in an email that hasn’t even been spell-checked. But what was nice, is that the moment I got the pass, it kicked me up the bottom to get on with something else.
The best rejections are the ones that offer up good, understandable reasons for the decision. And those are the easiest to accept. If, like this one, they even help you shape your next pitch or treatment, all the better.
If you’re new to writing and you’ve just received your first rejection letter, use it as a spur not a crutch. A string of such letters can obviously be disheartening, but I don’t think you can call yourself a writer if you haven’t had rejections. Aaron Sorkin may disagree. You should aim to get a pile of them that’s taller than you.