All writers deal with rejection. Anyone who engages in any kind of artistic endeavor knows from the start that it is part of how it all works. We are told time and time again, especially by those who have seemed to have conquered it, that it doesn’t mean the work is bad, that it is part of the process that will lead to being a published author. The thing that they say most often is that you must just continue to write. I don’t argue with that advice, in fact it is what I try to follow. One of the hardest things to do after a piece has been sent out to what one hopes is its destination is to stop thinking about it and move onto the next thing.
If I am honest with myself I have been a writer or at least a person who has loved words all my life. They have allowed me freedom beyond my physical limitations. I think it is part of the reason that they mean so much to me. I don’t think my physical disability which I haven’t talked about here before, is the thing that defines me. It’s certainly not the first thing I think about in the morning, some days I don’t even think of it at all. Still I know that when I am out in the world, that it is the only thing that other people see. Not always and sometimes it is overcome by conversation or over time. The reaction to the chair is most telling, especially when people try to hide it. So it is an easy thing to blame failure on. Other people’s prejudice, other people’s fear. It is the easy excuse. To tell yourself that it was not that you didn’t measure up or meet the expectations of others. The internet takes that easiest of excuses away. On the internet you are not judged my looks, but by the content produced and only that.
It is a scary thing to face and I think it kept me frozen, blocked from reaching for the things I wanted for far too long. So yesterday I got a rejection letter for a piece I sent out. Only my second since I started putting things out in the world to be published last July. I’ve been spoiled by positive reactions and overjoyed at acceptances I never thought I would get. So this one was hard. It was a publication I really wanted. The first time I tried a money market. I told myself it was no big deal. Just do what they tell you and keep writing. I thought I was doing ok with it. I really did. The fact that I agonized over my weekly Fringe post was no big deal. That had nothing to do with it. Then Edgar, the cat, broke one of the hinges on my writing desk and that brought me to tears. That’s when I knew I wasn’t ok.
Writing is a lonely business and never more than when someone says no thanks. I wonder if the really big published authors have days when they want to pull the blanket over their heads or quit and say I’m just wasting my time or fooling myself into thinking I’m a better writer than I actually am?
So how did I get over it? I’m not sure that I have. But I do know some things that helped. The fact that I have two notebooks full of things I want to write and had another idea today that sprang from a sentence on damomma.com. Also two talks from Ted Talks: the first by JK Rowling, http://www.ted.com/talks/jk_rowling_the_fringe_benefits_of_failure.html
and the second from Elizabeth Gilbert,
I hope that the links work. I am hoping to get a big tutorial on how all the bells and whistles on this thing works and be able to tweak this thing so that it works the way it should and improve the experience you have when you come here.
The other thing that I did was write. I suppose it is why I continue to write, because with the exception of being with the people who are closest to me, it is the thing that gives me the most joy is to tell a story. I can also say that something else has happened now with what I write. I want these things to be out in the world, to be read by other people. It’s truly about that, the sharing. Now because we live in a world where you have to pay for food and college tuition for you daughter I need to be paid at some point.
So I’m not going to quit. I can’t or I will be impossible to live with. And I can be impossible to live with. No one what to live with that, especially me.
So keep coming back and I’ll keep being honest about how this works for me and what my results are.
Thanks for reading. I promise a much more fun post on Friday, or since it is Friday at this point, later today.