As 2020 approaches, a few Submittable team members, including me and fellow editor/marketer Rachel Mindell, wanted to challenge ourselves to a New Year’s resolution big and grand enough for entering an entirely new decade. We also wanted a challenge that would crush our fears and make multiple facets of our lives better, all at once. We came up with #Rejection100: a challenge to not only collect, but also to celebrate, 100 rejections throughout the year. We also wanted to give other people the chance to participate.
Joining the gang is easy: sign up at our closed Facebook group, find a good personal place to list your rejections (you can do this anywhere, like on a whiteboard, in a journal, or in a Google Sheet), and start putting yourself out in the world. We will officially start tallying rejections on January 1, but if you’d like to get rejected before then, please go ahead.
Wait, what’s the point?
As Homer Simpson once said, “Trying is the first step toward failure.” But it’s also the first and most important step toward success. When we fear or avoid rejection, we prevent ourselves from finding new opportunities, pushing ourselves forward, and climbing the next rung of the ladder.
Rejection isn’t something that you overcome: it’s an unavoidable part of life, especially for creatives, and it never goes away. Even the most talented, hardest-working geniuses get rejected all the time, so let’s get used to it. #Rejection100 is a challenge to see rejection as it truly is—a necessary part of achieving our dreams and being at our best. It’s logical, really: since we can’t have success without rejection, rejection must be a good thing. So let’s start treating it that way.
Just picture someone with a baseball bat, swinging wildly, over and over again, while spinning in circles. If they do that for long enough, it’s hard not to finally hit something (hopefully a baseball, but who knows?). That’s the spirit of #Rejection100. If we show ourselves to enough people, we’re bound to find a few people who like what they see.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about #Rejection100
Do the rejections have to be through Submittable to count toward our count?
Absolutely not. Submittable’s Discover tool is a great way to find opportunities to get rejected, but you can get rejected from whatever you’d like: publications that don’t use Submittable, your boss when you ask for a raise, an online date, the intermediate rec hockey team when you ask to level up. If you can get rejected from it, you can list it as a rejection. Honestly, we think it would be cool if you collected a wide range of rejections from different parts of your life throughout the year.
Do I have to be a creative type of person to join the group?
Nope. We think all people should enjoy rejection as much as writers, artists, filmmakers, and other creatives. Maybe you’re trying to get grant money for a non-profit. Maybe you’re trying for a promotion this year. Maybe you’re an academic who wants to publish more or snag a tenure track position or get research money or all three. Maybe—just maybe—you generally want to embrace and celebrate rejection this year and see how far you can go when you set aside your pride.
How do I track my big pile of wondrous rejections?
You can track them anyway you’d like. A few ideas we’ve seen are a journal, a whiteboard/chalkboard, Post-It notes, or a simple Word doc. We’ve also created a super simple rejection tracker on Google Sheets that we’d love for you to copy and use.
How does this group feel about acceptances and successes?
Since we celebrate rejection, it’s only logical that we condemn success. In other words, the correct responses to an acceptance, success or YES in this group would be:
- “I am so sorry about your raise.”
- “That sucks. Can you use the money you made to wipe away your tears?”
- “Damn. Maybe next time they’ll say no.”
Do I have to post about every rejection in the #Rejection100 Facebook group?
Of course not. The online group is to share your failures and successes as you wish to—we totally get that some people will want to participate more than others and that some people will just want to read and get inspired from the group. You can also post about other parts of your journey, ask questions, or share tips, as long as it doesn’t stray too far from the realm of striving and rejection.
Can I count ghosting or crickets as rejection?
Sure, if a more than reasonable amount of time has passed since your attempt at success, you can count crickets toward your 100. Just note that a reasonable amount of time depends on the type of rejection. A rejection from a top-tier literary magazine might take a year and that’s not too weird, but if you don’t hear back after asking someone on a date and it’s been a week, you can probably safely mark it as a loss (good job!).
What do I win if I collect 100 rejections in 2020?
Well, you don’t get anything (surprise!). But we’ve found that while collecting 100 rejections in a year, you might accidentally run into some acceptances, learn a bunch about who you are, gain a ton of experience, and build some confidence.
Does this sound like a good resolution for 2020? Join the group.
Here at Submittable, we think about rejection a lot: how to handle it, how to track it, and how to dust yourself off and try again. Below, find a few resources about rejection that we’ve published in the past.
- What Rejection Taught Me About Doing the Work
- Alternative Response Templates for Editors
- You Got Rejected. Great Work.