Nobody is born great.
We all start off as equals: tiny infants who can’t do much on their own. Forget about beautiful paintings, elegant singing and persuasive writing that sells itself; we can’t even smile yet!
Later on in life, we often get frustrated with ourselves when we’re first trying to learn a new skill. We expect to be naturally good at it. We expect this skill to come easily.
What we forget is that every single skill that comes easily to us now wasn’t easy at all when we were first born.
It’s no effort to feed yourself now. Pick up food; place in mouth. You don’t even think about it. But when you were an infant, you picked up the spoon over and over and missed your mouth entirely. You did it all the time.
You did it until you finally mastered that skill.
You don’t learn anything overnight. You might pick up some skills more easily than others, but you still had to work hard to develop those skills. You’ve got to get comfortable with the idea that you’re still learning – and that learning means failing.
The good news is that if you do it right, those failures can work for you. Every time the spoon missed your mouth as a child, you learned what didn’t work. Every time you got a bite in your mouth by sheer accident, you learned what did work.
That’s the attitude you want to bring to your rejections in copywriting – so you can master the slightly more sophisticated skill of becoming a professional writer.
Understanding Rejection: Yes, It’s You
I was frequently frustrated with the repeated rejections of my writing. I would tell myself that I was a great copywriter, that those people just didn’t understand my style. I’d tell myself that they were missing out.
It was a lot like when I was a baby, screaming at my mother for not getting food in my mouth properly, when in fact I was the one wielding the spoon.
Telling myself that my failure was someone else’s fault made me feel just a little bit better about the sting of rejection. Which was excellent for encouraging me to keep trying – eventually I’d run into someone who did their job properly and accepted my great writing – but it wasn’t much good at helping me actually improve my skills as a writer.
The idea that I was really the one to blame for my own failures didn’t sink until I was working at a friends’ office one day. I started my usual tirade at a current rejection.
My friend laughed at me.
At first I was stung by his amusement at my obvious distress but once I’d settled down, I listened to what he had to say. He told me that in a business – even an online one – a business owner must know what they’re doing in order to succeed. They make a point out of learning their industry in and out – so if they’re turning me down, it’s for a reason.
They weren’t rejecting my articles because they were bad at their job. They were rejecting my articles because I wasn’t good at my job. My articles were just not good enough. And no business owner can afford to accept less than the best.
Understanding rejection as a failure in myself, not in the business owners, was a huge step to improving my writing. I can’t just keep trying. I have to improve each time I try.
Turning Rejection into Education
When you understand that failure is your own fault, it’s easy to get depressed about it – but that’s not the real lesson here. As a child, you got frustrated at your failures all the time, but that doesn’t mean you gave up on feeding yourself or learning to walk or tying your own shoelaces.
You might have gotten frustrated on any given day and walked away from the skill you were trying to master. But the next day you were there again trying to improve – because mastering this skill was important to you.
So here’s the big question: is being a good writer important to you?
Is it important enough to keep working at it? Is it important enough that even when it’s frustrating to fail, even when you feel like giving up, you’ll keep pushing stubbornly forward bit by bit?
Rejection can be a great tool for self-improvement. Think of rejection as a form of free education. Whenever something you wrote gets rejected by a client or by a blog-owner, ask why. Sometimes they’ll provide their reasons; sometimes you’ll be left to figure it out by yourself.
Often, you’ll discover that there is some critical part of the writing process that isn’t quite working for your clients.
For me, I jumped subjects way too often. I had many clients tell me that my blogs didn’t have a point. It felt like a bunch of words, rammed together, without an underlying connection.
After I’d heard this enough, I realized that it was a large weakness of mine, so I put effort into fixing that specific problem. I started to write up outlines for each piece and filling in each section with information that was relevant.
This made each article take a bit longer, but I started actually selling them!
Turning rejection into education can help you from getting stressed out and giving up. Instead, you’ll give yourself a specific area to work on so you can master this important skill.
And that’s important – kids are encouraged to keep working hard when they see small improvements in their progress. They don’t need to master everything at once, but they do really need to see that they can improve at all.
You’re no different. If you try to just improve your writing overall, you’ll feel frustrated because every rejection is an indication you failed at that goal.
If you try to improve a specific area of your writing and your feedback in that specific area turns positive, you’ll know you’re making progress.
Creating Success from Failure
Once you’ve learned how to use criticism and rejection to improve your work, you’ll start to realize that failure can actually become a large key to success.
It’s not just about realizing what you’re doing wrong and fixing it, it’s about mastering each part of copywriting. When you constantly fail, then you’re forced to reevaluate your work and really buckle down and focus on improving each part.
If your articles and blogs were accepted from the start, then you never had the chance to really evaluate your writing. You never had the chance to realize what was wrong with it and what your weaknesses were. You never had the chance to sit back and ask yourself how you could constantly improve.
Failure is just a chance to skip the pit of mediocrity that most people and writers fall into. It’s not a rare opportunity; it’s just one that most people don’t notice. When you see it and embrace it, you can start using it to excel.
And if you get discouraged, just remember: every skill you think of as effortless now was once incredibly hard for you. If you keep working at your writing, you’ll soon find that it becomes one of the skills that’s “effortless” in your future – even though it’s a lot of work now.