How to Handle Rejections: A Lesson from My Son

My son, Angus, finally did it: he broke his arm.

Before you ask how this connects to writing, you’ll want to know how he did it.  Get ready: he was on the trampoline.  I know, I know; I’ve had to field a few parents who’ve said, “Oh, those things are so dangerous!” or “I would never let my kids play on those–oh, wait…I thought Angus was at a friend’s house…”


The thing is, if we didn’t have a trampoline, Angus would have broken his arm falling out of a tree, or skateboarding, or BMXing.  He is just that kid.  Last week, I found him standing on the back of the couch, asking, “Mom, is it okay if I do a backflip off this?”

No.  No, it is not.

Well, he handled this injury great–partly because of the wonderful folks at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.  Angus broke his arm at 10:15 a.m. and, thanks to things like a hospital transfer due to a complication (of course, he would dislocate and fracture his elbow), he did not make it home until after 7 p.m., yet he said things like, “I love it here!” and “This place is boss!”

In my life as a writer–no, wait, in my life, period–I want to be more like my son, who continues to see the good in a situation long after the rest of us have retreated.  This week, I had one acceptance (yay) and three rejections (boo).  I am learning to say, “This is boss!” because getting rejections means I’m still in the game.

My desire, of course, is to have a decent income from writing by, say, autumn 2016.  I only know one sure-fire way to fail: to let those rejections prevent me from writing and submitting my work.

Instead, I’ll be like Angus, who continues to say, “How about this? Can I try this? What about this?” and views his failures as chances to learn how to do it better.  I’ll be a risk-taker, like him.

Only, I’ll break less bones.




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