Fear is the mindkiller. Rejection does not hurt. It is only a preference. It does not determine your value.
— Jeane Brant (@skylit1) April 7, 2016
Some people, when they are afraid of something, fall back on their religion, or some popular saying from their parents. I fall back on Dune.
I watched Dune first. I watched everything to do with it – all of the various movies that wandered into the house, and the Syfy (or whatever it was then) mini-series of Children of Dune. As a kid, I really enjoyed it, but I had never read the book until this past summer. I’m glad I waited, because it was such a dense book – lyrical, hefty prose curled around themes of theology and culture clash and evolution – that I don’t think I would have appreciated it as a younger person. Not because teenagers can’t appreciate deep thoughts and beautiful words, as they most certainly can. Instead, I feel like my earlier self wouldn’t have had the tools to critically analyse it. But I digress.
The thing that has always stuck to me, has always echoed in me every time I heard it is the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear. “I will not fear. Fear is the mindkiller. I will face my fear, and I will let it pass through me. When it has gone, only I will remain.”
Now I know the above is paraphrasing from the book. I can’t remember if that is how the movie adaptation quoted it or not, since it’s been years, but that is how I have always remembered it so that is the version you are getting. In any case, the point of this grave exposition is that submitting to any market is downright scary. You want so badly to succeed. If you are at an early stage in your career, you don’t go into a round of submissions with the possibility of rejection. That shit is coming. That shit is coming at you, and you will be lucky if they even tell you why. Your chances of not being rejected, of being accepted in even one market, are vanishingly low.
It can be a little hard to press forward with submitting, once you really understand that. It’s a bit like beating your fist against a concrete wall over and over. You know it’s going to hurt. You better have a real good reason for doing it.
But the thing about rejection is, it doesn’t really hurt. No one is beating you with a cane, or telling you what a terrible human you are. They are simply saying that your work is not for them. The only thing getting hurt is your ego. Without fear, you only die once. The only way to fail at submitting is to not do it. The worst thing they can say is no. Rejection does not determine your value as a human being.
So, with that said, good luck.