On Rejection

 By Jen Huszcza

Today I want to talk about something all playwrights have dealt with at some point. Rejection.

We’ve all been there. We apply for thing we really really want. We think we have a really good shot at getting the workshop/grant/production. We put a lot of work into the application.

Then we don’t get it.

And it sucks.

Now, this is the point where I should be inspirational, where I should tell you to brush yourself off and keep going, where I tell you that you can do it and you will find a place for your play.

But I’m not gonna do that. I’m going to let you relish in the misery of the suckiness of your rejection.

Now, take all that misery and suckiness and anxiety and depression and roll it up into a little ball as tight as you can.

Look at that ball, study its awful grossness until you are ready to vomit.

 Now throw the ball away.

 And move on.

It’s not about how hard we fall, it’s how we get up from our falls. I recently learned that sometimes after a fall, it’s okay to spend a minute or two on the ground to catch your breath. When boxers get knocked down, they get a ten count. Sometimes it’s better to get up at five or six or seven than at one or two. It’s a few more seconds and a few more breaths.

Rejection does suck. Rejection is bad. I wish there was a way for all the playwrights to get everything we want, but playwriting is a dying art with very little financial incentive in a bottom-line country which does not support arts and culture on a government level.

I will also say that I have worked on the other side of the rejection line as a grant reviewer and play reader. I have championed folks on the basis of their work. However, a lot of the work I have read was crap. It needed one more thing, one more element to make it shine. Think about how you want to shine. The people who read your work and your applications are people with a hard job to do. Please don’t make their job harder. Please check your spelling.

And move on.