I have decided over the past couple years that working a day job in Corporate America will better prepare you for rejection as an aspiring author. Especially if you’re a woman.
Last night, I watched a Season 3 House marathon while doing a marathon of dirty laundry and folding. The gist of House is basic: somebody gets sick, then House cures them while being a jerk. To keep the story interesting there’s always a subplot that runs over multiple episodes. The subplot over these episodes was a quarrel between Dr. Cameron and Dr. Foreman.
Foreman had stolen an article idea from Cameron, which he’d later gotten published in a medical journal. As a writer, I was rooting for Cameron. Foreman had broken a cardinal writing rule.
Then, at the end of the episode, the screenwriter gave Foreman a chance to explain himself. Dr. Cameron told him she believed they were both wrong and should apologize to each other. She recited a heartfelt apology and then waited for him to reciprocate.
He didn’t. Instead, he told he has nothing to apologize because they’re not friends, they’re colleagues.
Click. Did you hear the light bulb switch on? It did for me.
If you haven’t worked a day job where you experienced constant criticism and feedback on your work, then you will have a harder time dealing with rejection from agents, editors and publishers. Because, unlike the people at your average writer group meetings, they’re not trying to be your friend. They’re interested in being your colleague. Friendship will come later, if you’re lucky.