- This is a guest post from Melissa Breau of Jargon Writer as part of Be My Guest month.
One of the assignments I pitched for recently decided to go with another writer. I wrote up two sample pieces (which they paid me for), but ultimately they decided I was not a perfect fit for their brand.
Naturally, this sucks. Rejection always sucks. But as a writer, it’s important that you learn to deal with it.
Just because you weren’t a perfect fit for this project or assignment or client doesn’t necessarily reflect on your abilities or your work – instead, it shows exactly that: this wasn’t a good match.
Try not to get too discouraged. After all, no freelancer gets every assignment her or she pitches (and if they say they do they are lying).
Instead of being discouraged, look again at the assignment and your pitch. Can you find why it wasn’t a good match? Did you know that it was a stretch before you applied?
If you did, but that’s the type of assignment you really want to be doing, consider ways that you can make yourself a more likely candidate for that type of project – perhaps having more samples of a similar nature would have helped you land the gig, and you can volunteer to write similar pieces for less money or for free somewhere else to build up your clips.
If you can’t figure out why your pitch was rejected, or if every pitch you send out seems to be rejected (it can feel this way sometimes), instead of dwelling on your failures look to see where you can improve.
Maybe picking up a new book on writing pitch letters will help; maybe doing a guest post for a friend’s blog on a similar topic will let you get out the idea and give it a home where it will be more appreciated. Perhaps you can take a writing class or join a writers’ group where you can exchange feedback, to hone your skills. Any of these options is much more positive than focusing on failure. Instead of viewing it as “rejection” view it as a chance to get better; better yet, this was practice for the assignment you will get – next time. Then make yourself pursue that next time.
If the editor or client that you pitched the assignment to gave you any information about why they didn’t choose you, evaluate it carefully. It may clue you in as to where you can improve; it may show you why you just weren’t a good match; you may see that you simply mis-interpreted something when applying (which happens to us all, sometimes); or you may decide it’s completely off base – after all, you’re the expert in your field and despite the mantra that the customer is always right, they sometimes aren’t. Regardless, thank them for their feedback.
Even when rejected, be sure to email the editor or client back, thank them for letting you know that they went with another choice and let them know that if another project comes up that they believe you’d be a better fit for, you’d love to work with them on something else. This leaves the door open – after all, maybe you were the second choice and the first choice will turn out to be less “perfect” than they originally believed. It also lets them know there are “no hard feelings,” and that you are a professional.
If appropriate, you can ask them of you can pitch them other ideas in the near future or ask permission to stay in touch. Some will say yes, others will say no. Again, this isn’t really a reflection on you, but if they say yes make sure you follow up no more than a month later with another idea. This shows that you’ve kept them in mind and are sincere about wanting to work with them.
If you still feel down, remember this:
He failed in business in ’31, he was defeated for state legislator in ’32. He tried another business in ’33, it failed. His fiancée died in ’35. He had a nervous breakdown in ’36. In ’43 he ran for congress and was defeated. He tried again in ’48 and was defeated again. He tried running for the senate in ’55. He lost. The next year he ran for vice president and lost. In ’59 he ran for the senate again and was defeated. In 1860 the man who signed his name A. Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States.
Melissa Breau is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business content and personal branding. She has had over 40 articles published in nationally distributed magazines in the last year, as well as writing and developing sales letters, press kits and PR materials for a number of clients. She has a masters of science in publishing from Pace University, and also works as an associate editor and web editor for Macfadden Communications Group on several of their business to business publications. For more about her, check out her blog Jargon Writer, or follow her on twitter – @MelissaBreau.