It's been a long time since a non-fiction/self-help book has lingered in my brain, but Big Magic has. You probably already know this from my previous post.
Something else that Gilbert mentions is that rejection and failure are just part of the creative process. The idea of rejection just being part of the process, not being something to fear felt incredibly freeing to me.
Imagine if you could completely turn around how you feel about fear - what if, instead of being terrified of it and taking every rejection personally, you just understood it as part of the process?
Think about your current job - there are things you hate, but have to do, right? For me, I have to get up at 6.30am, I have to take a train and I have to do data entry. They're not parts of the job that I enjoy by any means (though I get a certain warped satisfaction from the speed at which I can finish a data entry project). But I do them - I force myself out of bed, I get on the train and I get into the zone and I deal with that data as quickly as possible. They're just parts - albeit rubbish parts - of the process, so I just do them.
Rejection always feels so personal because we often put so much of ourselves into our work. So many hours, so much motivation and excitement for the idea. When it is rejected, as it is likely to be, it feels like we ourselves are being rejected. We are being told that we are not good enough.
I really wish this is something that was taught more in schools - life is full of rejection, but it's ok, it's just part of the process.
Think how much happier and more confident we'd be if we accepted that. Not just in writing, but in all areas of our lives. If you didn't fear rejection, you'd go for that job, make that call, ask that person out. You won't die if you hear the word 'no'. There'll be another job, another call, another crush. Life is full of opportunity.
I'm not saying it's easy. I'm repeating 'rejection is part of the process' like it's my new mantra and I still wince when I hit send on an email to an agent. But I keep saying it because it feels like an important lesson to learn. When it starts to feel completely true to me, I'll let you know!