Scenes from St. Augustine -- Another shot of the town square. Look how cool and shady it is . . .
Believe it or not, it's been five years this summer since I returned to writing after taking a sabbatical for about a year. Steph has blogged about how she misses the good ol' days of our early blogging, when it was new and fresh and we didn't know who was watching us. Scariest moment of my blogging life? Having an agent show up to comment that I really shouldn't talk about rejections on my blog. They didn't like to see that. Best moment? Having Deidre Knight show up to comment on one of my posts. That was cool.
But the truth is, rejection is hard. It's demoralizing. It's frustrating.
As an admitted control freak, I've learned that one of the hardest facets of being a writer for me is the letting go involved in submitting. However, the letting go is crucial. I can write a great book. I can put it out there. And that's where my control of the situation stops.
In the past five years, my outlook on submitting and rejection has changed. Early on, I took each rejection letter to heart. Doing so chipped away at me. I let it beat me down. However, over time and through some non-writing circumstances, I changed and that, to paraphrase Frost, has made all the difference. The rejections still sting. Sometimes they make me crazy.
My new attitude is this -- I can write a great book. I can submit it when it's requested. And I can let it go. At the time it goes in the mail, I've done everything I can do. At that point, it's a fifty-fifty shot and the outcome depends on the person on the receiving end. She (or he) will either like it or not. If I get a rejection, I can roll with that. That means pick it up, write something new, start all over again.
Recently I was cleaning out the office so we could complete the renovations in that room. In my old desk was the folder full of rejection letters. I considered throwing them out. I ended up carting them to school. Why? They're going on my wall as a montage, with a headline on them that will say something like "you don't lose until you quit." I think. I'm still thinking through that part. If you have suggestions, I'm open!