The Fear of Rejection

photo of rejection stampBeing told “No” just brings you one step closer to being told “Yes”

If you have now put together a writing portfolio to provide prospective clients with samples of your work you’re ready for the next step, which is to start asking for paid projects.

Asking for a paid project is for many a step too far.

What if they say “No”, criticise my work, or call my bluff on a topic I’ve researched but don’t really know about, to pass myself off as an expert on it?

There are two things I’ve learned by getting my hands dirty on the keyboard and they are simply this:

One: you will be told “No” far more times than you will be told “Yes” – it’s not personal, build a bridge and get over it and better still, try to find out why you’ve been rejected and see what you can learn for next time.

Two: somewhere there is a buyer who is going to love what you do and your task is to find them. When you are told “No” it is not a sign of failure, it is simply a step along the road to success and having your work accepted.

What follows is a real example of my own experience from a couple of days ago.

Personally, I’m trying to improve the quality of my client bank and make the jump from preparing 400 to 1,200 word articles, to writing e-books. I’m also looking to start integrating my SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) knowledge into my service offering. The difference is simply that instead of being paid $15 -$30 for a 1,000 word article I can ask for $1,500 and more to run an SEO program for the client in which my writing will also be used (I’m sorry this is in dollars but the US dollar is pretty much the currency of the international web).

I pitched for a project for a UK company that sells toys and children’s products such as beds, cots and so on. They are undergoing a major reworking of their website and needed SEO optimised product descriptions. In short, they needed an SEO expert and a copywriter and I thought “That’s me!”.

I prepared an SEO keyword report for them as an example of my SEO expertise and they loved it!

I received an email that was glowing in terms of my SEO ability but as I read on there came the dreaded rejection. 🙁

I also had to submit a reworked product description as part of the project bid and I had made a simple mistake within it. That lost me the work and a potential $3,000 project as well as a long term client.

I’m angry with myself for making such a silly, stupid mistake. I did not check my copy as I ought to have done and focused on the SEO report.

What can I take away from this?

First, check my work! Better still, with such larger projects get my project bids edited by someone else before I submit them.

Second, my SEO work will sell! Though I wasn’t selected, they really felt my copywriting lapse was a shame as they wanted to use the SEO skills.

Now I’m busy submitting bids on projects to use my SEO and copywriting skills and the projects are much larger than I’ve done so far. I now have someone to edit and proof my work before the bids are submitted and I only have to wait for the rejections to come through until I find that buyer that is really going to love my work. To help you from making the same mistake I did with this bid, take a little time and look at the Supaproofread’s 10 tips for proof reading your own work.

If you are at the stage where you are looking to be paid, then expect to be rejected at least ten times before you get a piece of paid work. With each rejection, try to find out why you were rejected – “You bid too high”, “We didn’t like your work.” (ask why not), “You have no track record.” – and next time address these issues if you think they are relevant.

Coping with the personal feelings of rejection is best done with a positive state of mind and an open one at that. Look at rejection as an opportunity to learn and become a better service proposition. If you are looking to become a writer who writes for a living, rather than as a hobby or part-time job, accept the slings and arrows that will fall your way. It’s all part of your apprenticeship and a part of the daily work that you will be doing.

Remember, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince!

….and that leads on to selling yourself which I will deal with in my next post.

If you are serious about making the leap to becoming a paid writer, take some time and look at the resources and services Supaproofread has to offer manuscript writers.