Don’t Run From Rejection. Embrace It.

“Failure? I never encountered it. All I ever met were temporary setbacks.”
Dottie Walters, founding member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and founder of the International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB)

Cindy Cyr here for my final day of The Writer’s Life …

Today, I’d like to share with you my biggest key to succeeding at living the writer’s life …

But first, I want you to consider the following:

  • Helen Gurley Brown, international editor and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, worked through 17 secretarial jobs before her employer recognized her writing skills and moved her to the copywriting department. She advanced rapidly and became one of the nation’s highest-paid ad copywriters in the early 1960s. Plus, she only became the editor-in-chief ofCosmopolitan after countless denials by other publications to put her perspective on a magazine.
  • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lack of ideas.
  • Actor Fred Astaire’s first screen test memo said, “Can’t act! Slightly bald! Can dance a little!”
  • Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, was not encouraged by her family to write. Instead, they thought she should find work as a servant or seamstress.
  • Richard Hooker, author of the novel M*A*S*H, worked on this novel for seven years only to have it turned down 21 times before William Morrow and Company (now a part of HarperCollins) published it. It became a runaway bestseller, inspiring a blockbuster movie and a highly successful television series that ran for 11 years.
  • English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
  • Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections, failed in two businesses, lost his job, couldn’t get into law school, and suffered a complete nervous breakdown before being elected as the president of the United States and becoming one of the greatest presidents in the history of our country.

I could literally list hundreds more examples like this. In fact, I challenge you to find a successful person who hasn’t experienced rejection.

In her book, Having It All, Helen Gurley Brown writes, “People tend to think some are not only luckier and cleverer but that somehow ‘it’ just falls on them and presto they are 'big time.'" But she says this rarely ever happens. She says there is no way to “have the lovely spoils – money, recognition, deep satisfaction in your work” except to do the things you need to do to be prepared.

Part of that preparation is being prepared for rejection.

Often, what I see happen is that once people become prepared by taking the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, Copywriting 2.0 and other AWAI courses, they expect to close every potential client they encounter. And when this doesn’t happen, they become discouraged.

Sometimes they even quit trying.

They aren’t prepared for rejection.

They think because someone didn’t hire them for a project, they’ve failed. Doubt creeps in as they question their ability and whether they are good enough to make it as a copywriter.

This is unfortunate because the reality is … you will never close every deal.

Think about it … you wouldn’t expect your clients to sell their product or service to every person that reads their sales message, would you?

You don’t even expect the majority of the people who read or hear sales messages to purchase, so why should you have different expectations for yourself?

Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t hope and try for the best. You should!

However, when you anticipate a temporary setback, you won’t feel discouraged or feel like you’ve failed. In fact, you’ll look for rejection because you know the law of averages will bring you a closed deal.

As a matter of fact, when you expect rejection, you’ll close more deals.

Here’s why:

  • You’ll be prepared to handle objections when they arise, which will help you overcome these objections and answer concerns a client has about your writing for them …
  • You’ll move on to the next prospect more quickly after rejection because you won’t spend time questioning whether you did something wrong or are qualified enough or charged too much … because you expect rejection to happen.
  • Because you won’t be waiting for your current prospects to say “yes,” you’ll always be searching for new clients.
  • And you won’t feel discouraged when you experience rejection because you expect it.

And that is my biggest key to living the writer’s life.

So don’t worry about the rejections and so-called failures you hit along your copywriting journey. Instead, worry about the opportunities and life you are missing when you let rejection cause you to quit trying. Because as Lao Tzu, author and Taoist philosopher says, “Failure is the foundation of success and the means by which it is achieved.”

As long as you keep trying and embrace rejection, you are sure to achieve living the writer’s life you yearn for.

The Digital Copywriter's Handbook

The Digital Copywriter's Handbook

Learn how to become an in-demand online copywriter for companies big and small. Online copywriting expert Nick Usborne shows you how to write web copy that converts. Learn More »


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Published: May 13, 2011

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