What you need to know:
- At times, even gatekeepers and gurus can get it completely wrong.
- That is why when you have a dream — and it’s piercing through your soul — trust your gut instinct.
Every writer worth their craft has received a rejection slip — at one point in their career. A rejection slip is a note enclosed with a rejected manuscript returned by an editor to an author.
In my journey as a writer, I’ve learnt that rejection should spur introspection, not implosion. Rejection should guide you to your destiny.
Rejection should birth wondrous possibilities. In the fullness of time, a womb, which was the safest place, (r)ejects a baby.
In January 2003, I walked into Nation Centre with an idea which, I was convinced, its time had come. I’d never run a newspaper column before, but, like that song says, “I had something inside so strong”.
Back then, Nation Media Group had a reception on, the second floor. The receptionists would call the person you’d come to see, and they’d speak with you through one of the many booths.
Taking rejection in stride
On that material day, I went to see a senior editor, who was then the Editorial Director. I had never met him before. I explained to him on the phone how the idea would change lives and perceptions.
“That idea will never work in Kenya,” he told me blatantly.
If I was one to be easily discouraged, I would have shuffled out of Nation Centre, with a limp tail between my legs, believing I had the spirit of rejection.
Flip the script
But, I’m built differently. I was born in Jericho. Mental walls have never stopped me from accessing what’s rightfully mine.
I’m always taken aback when I hear some people confessing they have a “spirit of rejection”. That’s what happens when believers trust charlatans more than they do Christ.
Listen. Sometimes you are being rejected because this ideal person or dream job or life-changing trip overseas will kill you or cause you irreparable damage.
Think of it this way. Before surgeons transplant an organ or any foreign body, the donor and the recipient must be a perfect match. It’s a matter of life and death.
Otherwise, the recipient’s body will reject the foreign body. Its defensive mechanism will kick out what it perceives to be an intruder.
Flip the script. Could it be that you’re not facing a rejection but instead you’re being redirected? Could it be that you’re not undergoing persecution but you’re being protected from future grief? Selah.
Trust your guts
Back to my first experience at NMG.
“Thank you so much, sir,” I told the NMG editor as he hung up the phone.
“It was great talking to you.”
That same day, I wrote to Mildred Ngesa, who was then at The Standard Group. I received her reply the next day.
“I’ve wanted to do this, but I didn’t know how to do it. I’ve spoken with my editor, and she’s thrilled about it.”
A couple of months after I started the ghost column, the chief opposer of the column —NMG editor— called me. He wanted me to take this diary to the Nation. I told him that the decision was up to him.
The chief protagonist in the column I was ghost-writing for was Asunta Wagura, the Executive Director of Kenya Network of Women with Aids. The column was called “Asunta’s Diary”. The moral of my story?
At times, even gatekeepers and gurus can get it completely wrong. That is why when you have a dream — and it’s piercing through your soul — trust your gut instinct.
Don’t take rejections too personally; one person’s nonsense is another’s bull’s eye.