Do Your Best!
First up, always do your best! Sounds simple, right? You can use any submission opportunity as an excuse to get the project to the very best stage that you can at that time. So if your submission is unsuccessful, who cares? You’ve got a shiny new project to drive around town. If this deadline has helped you to bring your work up the best standard possible, then you’ve already won.
Ask For Feedback
Every time you are rejected follow up with a ‘Thank you so much for your consideration. Is there any feedback you are able to pass along?’ This means that every submission is a potential learning opportunity. Very often they’ll give you feedback you would otherwise have to pay a lot of money to access! Free learnings! Sounds good to me!
Every writer faces rejection (except Cormac McCarthy) and don’t let them tell you otherwise (unless it’s Cormac McCarthy). Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it sure was burnt down in one. I don’t know if that’s true, or even relevant. Grit sounds negative but is positive. Look it up. It’s seen as the quality that allows people to persist in the face of adversity to achieve their objectives. Write GRIT on the wall and keep going. Until you’ve had enough and then stop and do something else. Life is short and you should try to enjoy it.
It’s Not Personal
It really isn’t. Well sometimes it is. In fact quite often it is. If it’s personal all the time, then you need to take a look at your professionalism. Always be as courteous! But when it isn’t personal, don’t take it personally. You’re welcome. One way to get over the hurt of rejection, and the feeling of personal rejection, is to get as many applications going as possible. Some people aim for a hundred rejections a year. I don’t think aiming for rejections is good – but 100 submissions a year sounds good to me! Remember you don’t have anything to lose when you submit except your brittle sense of self worth that is far too heavily invested in your writing. That’s a great position to be in.
After someone rejects you they might feel a bit bad about that, and want to try to help you out in other ways. This is a good moment to attempt to build a relationship, potentially a relationship that is as strong as if you had been accepted. Ask about other opportunities they have on offer, and whether you might submit your work in another way. Say you lose a competition, perhaps you might be able to submit your work directly to the editor to consider? Perhaps you might be able to let them know you are seeking work. Use a rejection letter as a chance to get to know your rejecter and bask in the Stockholm syndrome that may lead on to a career!