Earlier this week, I was doing what critique partner Cynthia Reese refers to as “butterfly blogging” – flitting from one delightful blog to the other, sucking up delicious droplets of nectar.
Wait, why does that sound sweet when she says it but dirty when I do?
Anyway, I stumbled across a post from an aspiring author who had just received a rejection.
On one hand, I felt like weeping for her.
The other hand wanted to smack her on the ass and say, “you go, girl!” because it was clear she was already starting to pick herself up and stumble back onto the battlefield.
If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know my journey to publication was a bumpy one.
Every time my agent would call with bad news – or before that, when agents were the ones rejecting me – there was this moment where I’d just sit there. And wait.
Was I going to cry? Was I going to scream? Was I going to throw my computer off the balcony and go be a pirate instead of a writer?
And though I might have wanted to do all of those things at one time or another, I never screamed, I rarely cried, and sadly enough, I never got to be a pirate.
I was always fascinated by my own capacity for recovering from those crushing rejections. Each time, I’d think to myself I’m not sure I can take another one.
And every single time, I could.
There are a lot of skills you have to develop as a writer. You fine-tune your plotting and characterization. You get the hang of pacing. You learn to write good query letters.
But there’s nothing that really teaches you how to get back up and keep going when everything in you is screaming enough already!
It’s just something you learn to do – to look down at yourself and see the bullet holes and recognize them for what they are.
They’re not life-threatening. They’re a sign of courage. Of your ability to persevere.
And the fact that you’re probably a lot tougher than you think you are.