My daughter tells me about an event that happened recently. She tears up, obviously upset. But when she’s done recounting the incident she dries her eyes, turns to me and says “It’s O.K. I’m over it.”
How can you just be “over it?” I think. It’s just like saying “Whatever.” It’s dismissive, like you don’t really care about it. Or do you?
I started thinking about this. Being a writer, rejection comes often. You have to have some mechanism to move on without letting it get to you, so maybe this is the perfect way to do it. In that moment, I decided to apply this seemingly nonchalant attitude to things that were bothering me. Of course I would allow myself some time to wallow in my personal feelings of misery and nurse my bruised ego, but not long enough for it to dissuade my belief that the idea had merit and someone out there would find it interesting.
Recently, I sent a draft proposal for a non-fiction book to an agent. His reply wasn’t what I would consider “favorable.” He didn’t totally reject the idea, but felt that in its present form it wouldn’t fly.
I took his remarks to heart because, up until that point, everyone I told about my idea showed incredible enthusiasm. My “test group” wasn’t just close friends and relatives, it included other writers and non-fiction authors I admire; even everyday people who don’t count writing as their full-time profession. In every instance they gave me hope. But when I e-mailed it to this agent I received what I perceived to be an outright rejection.
And so I fell into this slump thinking “What made me think this was a good idea? If he said it wouldn’t work he must be right.” Over time, of course, I realized where he was coming from and that my style of writing and target readership were different than what he may have felt I should aspire to. There were other mitigating issues as well.
Today I wrote another writer and encapsulated the information in succinct form then said, “But I’m over it.” And suddenly I loved those four words. They could become a writer’s motto. “Hey, I just queried a magazine with a story idea and they rejected it.” Fast forward after self wallowing and say, “But I’m over it.”
So can this little ditty actually bring peace to a bruised ego? Will it help someone who’s been looking for a job for over a year only to receive rejections? Is that what Colonel Sanders said when he was told his idea for Kentucky Fried wasn’t viable? I’m not sure.
What I do know is that anyone who finds themselves confronted by negative words or reactions should have some way to pull themselves back up and bolster their ego. Better to employ a quick, sure fire healing mechanism.