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This rambling leads into what I wanted to talk about today. I promise. I don't like to fail. In the realm of academics and the written word, it's especially difficult for me to deal with failure. In fact, each time I don't succeed in meeting my goals, it feels more like a brutal assault to me than it does a skinned knee.
As a child, I may not have been socially successful, but I was always academically successful. I was used to writing stories that impressed my teachers, and this gave me a sense of optimism. If I could do well there, why wouldn't I do well in the real world of writing? Then I did well in college too. Yes, I saw people around me who seemed to have more writing skills than I did, but I also received enough encouragement to reassure me.
Then, I sent out my first novel to a publisher. It seemed to take forever, and what did I receive? My first rejection. Don't get me wrong. I'd certainly read enough accounts of published authors to know what to expect. Everyone gets rejected. Yet knowing those stories and experiencing the rejection are altogether different realities. I wouldn't say I was devastated, but it isn't easy to feel that sting for the first time. That novel is something you put a lot of your time, energy, and feeling into. Sending it out into the world and having it sent back as unworthy is frustrating.
Does that mean I'm going to give up? No. Half the reason I'm writing a blog is to send my words out into the world. I can share my stories here without having to gain the acceptance of a publisher. And here, I can work up my courage to keep sending my work out into the shark infested waters of the publishing world.
Do I need to work on how I deal with rejection? Yes. Do I need to learn how to brace myself for the inevitable bad reviews? Yes. Failure is a part of life, but failure in the writing world always feels personal to me. Yet I know I could never give up writing, no matter how many rejections I get. It's too much a part of who I am, so I guess I'll keep it up and grow my thicker skin as I go.