Unfortunately, if you choose to be a freelance technical writer, rejection will be a big part of your career, particularly when you're just starting out. If you're used to succeeding at everything you do, this aspect of the biz can be tough. There are, however, several strategies that can help you deal with rejection.
Don't Get Attached: You've found a gig you're absolutely perfect for. In fact, it seems as though the list of qualifications was written just for you. After you craft a killer cover letter and proofread it three times, you send it to the email address provided. You're absolutely sure you'll get the technical writing job, and when you don't hear anything, you're understandably devastated. As hard as it may be, you have to do your best not to expect a reply (or a gig) from any ad you happen to respond to. The employer may have received dozens of letters from equally-experienced people, or he may have hired somebody before you even sent your application. Allowing your hopes to get too high makes rejection even harder to deal with. Be optimistic, but try not to have unreasonable expectations.
Remind Yourself it's Part of the Business: Even the best writers don't get every gig they apply for. It's nothing personal. When you're competing with dozens or even hundreds of other applicants, you can't expect to be awarded the project every time. Rejection is a necessary and natural part of freelance technical writing. The sooner you realize and accept this fact, the easier it will be to deal with.
Track Your Efforts: Keeping track of your efforts is an easy way to boost your confidence and allow you to see that you are making progress. A simple spreadsheet will do the trick. Record the date, the position you applied for, and the result. Over time, you'll see that you're getting rejected a lot less, something that shows you are definitely gaining a foothold in the world of freelance technical writing.
Celebrate Your Successes: Beating out a ton of other applicants for a gig is a major accomplishment that is worth celebrating. As a freelance technical writer, it's up to you to celebrate your success and reward yourself for a job well done. Head out for dinner, take an afternoon off, or spend a day at the spa. Celebrating the jobs you do get will remind you that you're doing a great job, and might just make it easier to deal with the rejection that will always be part of your career.
Last Updated: 05/05/2014