I see it, both literally and figuratively. The light at the end of the seemingly never-ending tunnel of winter is visible and getting closer each day. The changing of the clocks (annoying as it might be) ushered in with it a changing of the weather. The sun has been shining on and off for the past three days. THIS is the part of winter when hope returns. The day has arrived when the end is in sight and you realize that we’ll get there eventually.
Yesterday I left the house with no hat, no gloves, and no boots! I wore sunglasses. I took the kids on their scooters around the neighborhood after school. The hideous black mountains have ben reduced to hills surrounded by puddles filled with cigarette butts that are rapidly being rinsed away by the store owner’s hoses each morning.
I’m sure there will still be some bumps and potholes on the way out. This is probably not the end of hats and gloves quite yet. I’ve yet to see the first green tendrils pushing up through snow. But I’m hopeful that it’s coming soon.
“I could write an entertaining novel about rejection slips, but I fear it would be overly long.”
If a successful author exists (or existed) who has not felt the sting of rejection then he or she is one lucky bastard. Everyone knows that successful writers are rejected again and again, right? It’s the ones who are persistent who make it through, who finally get that life-altering call telling them that something they have written will be shared with others, or even better, that they will be paid for having written it. This is such a well-known fact that if you Google “writer’s quotes on rejection” you are met with a list of websites on the subject, each containing lists of quotes from authors about the multitudes of rejection letters they collected before making it big.
While all of this may be true and all of this may be well-known by those who have hopes of becoming writers themselves, it certainly doesn’t make it hurt any less when you are told that the story you have poured your heart and soul into, ignored your children’s pleas to come play for, ordered pizza for dinner because you didn’t have time to cook for, ignored your spouse every evening when the kids are in bed for, is just not good enough to go into that journal. The pain of getting those letters in the rounds of stories and poems I sent out at the end of college were too much for me. I went into hiding. I dug myself in and hibernated. I stopped writing. What good was it if no one would ever get to read it? Why put so much into the work if it was all for naught? Why allow myself to be told I just wasn’t enough again and again?
But this last year I woke up, I dug myself out and I shook myself off and I wrote. Not only did I write, but I submitted. I found places I thought would be open to my work and wrote for them. I wrote for me. I wrote so that my children would see that dreams can come true. Maybe I put too much into it. I shouldn’t have opened myself to the hope that this time, this beautiful story that I spun into existence would be the one. This one would be the story that others just had to read, that would make them say, “we have to have this one!”
Alas, it was not my time. Maybe this isn’t the story, or maybe this isn’t the version of this story, that is the magical key. Maybe it needs more reads, more edits, more drafts, less words, more words, more imagery. I don’t know. Maybe I need to change in some way before I can write the story that will be accepted. But I know this–this time I’m not going away. I’m not letting rejection freeze my writer’s heart and put me into stasis. I’ll look at it again. I’ll tweak it. I’ll change it. I’ll pour a little bit more of my heart and a little bit more of my soul into the mix. I’ll open myself to hope once again and I’ll find a new place to submit. I’ll write a new story and submit that one too. After all, what other choice do I have?
Let’s hold onto the optimism here, shall we? Per my earlier post I have sort of been agonizing over actually submitting some of the writing I’ve been working on recently. Well, tonight, I sucked it up and I hit that damn button and my story has gone on to those who will decide its fate. For this particular journal anyway.
To be honest, I’m feeling a bit sick about it. Yes, I am happy that I finally just did it and put something out there, but ugh, now it’s out there and all I have left to do is wait. I have a second piece ready to go and I’m just trying to decide the best place for it before hitting send on that one as well.
This is a happy thing right? I’m getting back into the game. I’m ready for the rejection letters that will pave my path to publication. At the very least, I’m actually writing fiction again. This is a good thing. It is. Isn’t it?
Since I’m a little iffy on that one, I’ll add a little bit more happy. I was super duper excited about how Right Now went last week. It was so great to see both all of the posts and all of the responses. Thanks again to everyone. I’m hoping to see even more slices of life this week. I’m still aiming for Thursdays, but if you’ve got something going on, just go ahead and post whenever you feel the time is right. That’s the whole point. Just tag it with “right now” and link back to me so I know and can add you to the Right Now page and keep the good thing going.
Ok, feeling a bit more optimistic after that last paragraph. Of course, I took a freelance job this afternoon soon after I posted about not working. The universe at work. Hopefully this doesn’t lead to writing taking the back(back-back-back)seat in my life again. We shall see.
Sometimes, it’s really hard to hit that button.
Recently I have been blessed with some time. I have not had freelance work. While this is both good and bad, I’m trying to embrace the good and go with it. Timing is nice as we can get along without the money I make for a bit and so I’m looking at this as an opportunity.
I have been using some of this new-found free time to work on my creative writing. It’s been a long time since I concentrated at all on my fiction writing and it was difficult to get back into it. But once I established a routine and got a draft done and then edited and then sent it to some trusted people to read, I started to feel pretty darn good.
So here I am, with two pieces ready to go, the information sitting there for me to send them in, and yet I wait. I’m so afraid to put them into the hands of others, afraid for them to be judged and, most likely, be found insufficient. I fear that by actually giving my work over my bubble of writing joy will be burst and be replaced by anxiety and self-doubt, leading me to give up on writing anything for another number of years.
Submission…it is an opportunity to perhaps realize a dream of having something published, but it is also a gamble. When I work hard on a piece and send it off, I fill with hope. When I never hear back, that hope turns on me and tells me that I was stupid to hold onto it in the first place.
Ultimately, I will submit. I have people in my life supporting me on this and that is what has driven me to work. I will submit to uncertainty and I will work as I wait for the outcome on not letting it defeat me. Wish me luck.
Other writers: How do you get through the disappointment and submit again?