Friday, October 8, 2010

Guest Post: Keeping Your Morale Up While Waiting for Editors

by Angelita Williams

If you think coming up with fresh story ideas and getting down and dirty into researching and writing for a piece is the toughest part of freelancing, just wait until you receive your very first rejection letter. And then wait until you receive five, six, and seven more, sometimes all consecutively, as if no one out there is interested in any of the brilliant ideas that you have to offer. Rejection letters can be downright discouraging, which is why it is important to keep your morale up while pitching stories. After all, if you become so disheartened that you stop pitching stories, how will you ever get anything published?

Remember that rejection is not personal. Chances are that when you pitch a story to a newspaper, magazine, or publisher, you have never even met the person to whom you are pitching the story. This means that if you receive a rejection letter, it is not a judgment of your character. Instead, it is far more likely that the publication or publishing firm might have already printed another story similar to yours, previously accepted a pitch similar to yours, or that your piece simply may not be the right one for the publication's target audience. Never equate a rejection with a personal failure because this will only lead to your feeling more discouraged and less willing to continue pitching.

One of the best things that you can do is to use your rejections as learning opportunities. If a certain pitch that you have been shopping around has been refused time and time again, consider changing certain aspects of it to see if you can garner interest that way. Your topic may be too broad, so consider narrowing it down, which can also serve to make your piece unique. Also read over your pitch letter again and think about what you can change to better represent why your story pitch is a good one. Tweaking your pitch can be just what you need to finally get a publication to give you the green light for the project.

Another important thing to remember is to keep regularly pitching. Though your self-esteem may have taken a beating from the rejection letters, you will have a far greater chance of landing a freelance assignment if you continue pitching than if you quit and do nothing. After a while, you may even develop a formula for what types of pitches work and what types do not. In addition, the more quality story pitches you send out, the more work you will likely get, thereby building your professional resume and making you seem even more credible to publications.

Finally, keep in mind is that your feelings of sadness and frustration over the rejections are perfectly normal. In fact, the sting of rejection reaches far beyond purely emotional responses. A study conducted by the University of Amsterdam found that social rejection which is any rejection perpetrated by a peer, such as the editor whom you contacted for a story pitch can actually cause your heart rate to rapidly decelerate. In other words, in addition to the aggravation you may feel when receiving refusal after refusal, your heart may also be temporarily stopping each time as it reels from the stress of rejection. This may explain why many give up trying to freelance after receiving a few rejection letters the emotional and physical toll may be too much. However, if you strive to get over your negative feelings of rejection as quickly as possible, you will be able to keep your morale up and keep pitching your stories so that you can increase your chances of finally finding freelance success.

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online college courses. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7

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