I carefully read all of your comments, and I enjoy each one of these gifts. Why then did I feel slightly uncomfortable, when I read a comment that complimented my writing abilities? Somewhere around twenty years ago, I mailed a manuscript to several publishers. Somewhere around ten weeks later, I learned that all of them thought my manuscript stunk. They didn’t say stunk – they were professionals – they used a much more courteous approach.
I’d never attempted creative writing. I was home with my newborn, and my job-from-home workload was under control, so I decided to venture into the world of fictional writing. My hope of becoming a writer was dashed as those letters started arriving in the mail. As I write about this, I’m experiencing that same sick feeling in my stomach. Why didn’t my writing attempts stop there?
It’s because of my own personal ending. Not a literal ending, but where I decided to finally accept that a handful of publishers didn’t own the world. Their pass on my work, didn’t mean that I was a failure. It simply communicated that they weren’t on board with my writing, or that I needed to eventually go back and work to improve my writing. But when it first happened, it negatively impacted me. I was embarrassed and felt like a loser. I was dejected and out of sorts for a time. I grew to accept the rejection, and even realized that it was proof that I was courageous. I had tried something different and challenging, and that fact made me proud. I always knew that being published after my first attempt was a long-shot, and I don’t want to diminish the efforts of those that have or haven’t been published after years of perseverance, but I had stretched myself and I’d tried despite the odds. As the years passed, I was honest about the inferior quality of my writing, but I also chose to be gentle with myself. I accepted that it wasn’t the season to put more work into this, but nothing had to stop me from trying again someday.
Working through this taught me a valuable life lesson. Rejection should not define me. Easier said than lived out – rejection hurts. We either believe that it tells our story, or we fight hard to come back from it. In this way, I’m a fighter. I fought and refused to allow the rejection to speak for me. I speak for me through the good things that have already happened, and will continue to happen because of my involvement. I’m a good wife, mother, daughter and friend. I’ve encouraged and stood by my husband through many difficult times, and as he completely changed his career at age forty and moved us to an entirely different environment and lifestyle. I’ve had success in the corporate world, but left it, to go home and do my most important job – raise my children. I’m far from the perfect home-school mom, but I’ve demonstrated tenacity by sticking with it from kindergarten through high-school. There are people who trust me and desire to share their time with me. And yes, I’ve attempted writing again. This time I chose to write about my own experiences, and my hope is that my writing will reach a special person at precisely the right moment.
I’m not the sum total of all of my rejections and neither are you. You now know more about me, and why your encouragement means so much to me. Is there something that you need to try, try, again?