Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Rejection and Looking Forward


I was cleaning out my filing cabinet the other day.  A task I enjoy so much that I space each occurance out by about five years.  So, I am going through these files for my freelance business that I began back in 2004.  This is also when I started trying in earnest to get published.  When I graduated in 2005 (um, no, I was not 21), I was given a copy of Writer's Market as a gift. I scoured the pages, highlighting and dog-earing any publications for which I thought I might like to write.

And then I started writing and sending query letters.  I really wished I'd saved the letters, but oh well.  What I did save were all the rejection letters.  I learned early on (from Stephen King's "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft") that rejection letters were not a bad thing, that every writer receives them, that they are really just a sign that you're doing your job, getting your work out there, trying.  So, I created a special file folder which I labeled "Rejections" in big read letters. And that is where they have resided all these years.  I pulled them out the other night and was shocked at how many I'd received.  Wow! Look at all the publications I'd sent to! I was actually proud of my younger, greener self.

From my seat on the floor of my office, I looked up at the credenza above my writing desk where I keep a copy of all my published articles.  The Chicken Soup books and various magazines now number more than a dozen.

Ten years ago, I only dreamed of having a dozen or more publications under my belt, my bio listed in various anthologies and publications both regional and national.  And now, years later, here they are.

As I continued going through files, I came across one from my Webster University days filled with short stories I'd written for creative writing classes. Those protagonists I created are just lying in wait to be given new opportunities, new challenges, new life.

When was the last time you took the time to look back over the last 10 years or so to see what you've accomplished?  My guess is you've come a long way, baby.  We all fall into ruts now and then. Face rejection. Have trouble finding inspiration.  If you haven't yet, take a few minutes today to remind yourself of all you've accomplished, the goals you've reached, the ones you're working towards. Then get back to working on them.  They're not going anywhere, and the days, months and years are going to pass whether you go for it or not.

Give yourself the opportunity to look back 10 years from now and be proud of all you've accomplished!



6 comments:

  1. That's so weird because I just did something like that... as I was thinking I haven't done much and then when I cleaned up some files, I realized, hey, I did do a lot more than I realized...

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    1. Maybe we both have the spring cleaning bug!

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  2. Beth--Yes, rejection IS a sign that you're submitting.

    And in ten years you'll be way less green and I'll be more gray. (Sigh.)

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    1. I had a dream (okay, a nightmare) the other night that my head was covered in gray hairs. I'll take 'em if I can get one publishing credit per hair...

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  3. My writing is far tighter than it used to be, Beginning writers don't understand brevity. It is learned. And those rejections...I tossed them as fast as I received them.

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    1. Linda... totally agree with that. Writing tight... using the fewest words possible is an art form! I just realized that while I have kept every rejection letter, I have not saved one "yes" email or letter - what is wrong with me!?!? I am definitely going to start a "Yes" folder now!

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