15. Reject Rejection

Rejection is part of this business. If you can't deal with rejection, then you're probably going to have a tough time as a writer. I try to not take rejection personally, especially when it comes to my plays. I think I'm more comfortable than most writers when it comes to rejection. I'm a good enough writer and I know it; I too know good enough writers often go overlooked. A couple of my friends have commented on how comfortable I seem to be as an unproduced playwright. One of the reasons I'm as comfortable being unproduced as I am, might be how I look at rejection.

As I've grown older, my voice as a writer has grown and evolved. I have an understanding of who I am as a writer and why I write. My first three full-length plays are still growing and changing, so it's likely a good thing they were rejected many of those times. I too have had a couple of bad breaks, but then who hasn’t had to deal with people small-of-mind and small-of-character at one time or another? These plays are works-in-progress and will continue as such until they are produced. At the bottom of it all, it is the play that is being rejected. My plays are a part of who I am, but they are not me.

Another thing I learned about rejection was when I was applying to graduate schools. I don't know of anyone who wasn't rejected by at least a couple of schools. I remember one time seeing the envelope in the mailbox and knowing without touching it it was a rejection. What surprised me was how I felt: I was glad, maybe even happy! It was startling: I knew in this particular instance if they didn't want to work with me, I didn't want to work with them. Be it school or theatre, this is an industry that will always foster some incompetent people and those small-of-mind and small-of-character are best dealt with by avoidance. For me rejection isn't a one-way street: it can, and at times will, work both ways.

originally posted January 2013
reposted March 2018

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