It’s Wednesday. Hump Day. Mid-week slump day.
Normally I don’t have trouble with the middle of the week. I haven’t worked 9-5 at an outside office since 2013. For five years I’ve been running my own business, and while I don’t often cut myself slack, hump day is a bit easier when the commute is just downstairs.
Today’s different though. It’s April 4th, spring has sprung, but there’s snow on the ground—again— and there wasn’t when I filled the bird feeders yesterday. In fact yesterday it was a cool drizzle that felt like spring. Tease.
Yesterday. That’s a big part of why today is off. I feel hungover, but didn’t drink. Maybe I should have. I had a lot of hope riding on a short story I’d submitted. Yesterday I got the rejection note. It wasn’t even a real note, just a form email saying my story didn’t “fit” the anthology, and good luck wishes for finding a home for it. (I admit, I’m a bit spoiled with the feedback I’ve gotten on other pieces, so this was anti-climactic.)
When I got the note yesterday, I was 770 words into the 1,000 I needed to write for the day. When I opened the email, I didn’t think it was results. The subject line said update. I figured they were taking longer to get through all the submissions and were politely letting us know. So. Not. Prepared. for the rejection.
It threw off my writing groove. I wandered around, felt a bit lost, created a twitter graphic, and went outside in the drizzle to fill the feeders. I listened to the birds and came back inside.
I’d like to say I came in full of determination, but I didn’t. I sat down at my desk as lost as I’d been when I left. I know rejection is part of my job as a writer, but sometimes it’s tougher than others. My husband was worried about me, wondering how to help. He was disappointed too. He loved the story and thought it would be picked up. I could tell he was unsure what I needed every time he turned his chair to check on me and then returning to his own screen without saying a word. It was part of the reason I’d wandered. I didn’t want him to worry. *I* didn’t know what I needed, so what could I tell him?
Now, here I was, back in front of the computer, manuscript open in Scrivener. Unsure what to do next, I read the last sentence I’d written. Then I just started typing. When I finally hit a break in the scene, I looked at the word count box that hovers at the edge of my screen. It said 1,436. I’d almost doubled my words in that time.
I could have kept going, but it was a good place to stop, with an opening that would be easy to pick up next time. And dinner needed to be made. (BTW- The gluten-free chicken parmesan turned out great, and I’d never made it before. Win!)
Back to today though. Today is yucky. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I don’t want to work. I’m tired and achy, and though some of that is period related, I know a lot of it is the emotional bruising of getting your hopes dashed.
Rejection in any form sucks.
I knew I’d be dealing with it a lot in the career I’d chosen. Along the way I’ve worried that I couldn’t withstand it, that I would quit. I’ve been working on this book on and off for about two and a half years. I’ve wanted to quit, wanted to trash it, take the easy way out, but the story won’t let go. The worlds I’ve created live and they refuse to die. I will finish this book— most likely this month— and then I will revise it.
And then I’ll shop around for agents. Opening myself up for more rejection. Why?
Because at my core, I’m a writer. I prove it to myself over and over, and this post is just another form of that proof. See, as much as I am glad you’re here reading this, I can’t say I wrote it FOR you, dear reader. I wrote it with the intention of you reading it, but I wrote it for me.
It’s an act of defiance, an act of love, and an act of self-care. In all the times I’ve been lost, hurting, alone, or just low, writing has been what’s kept me sane(-ish).
I’m glad you’re here for the journey, for reading the high points and the low. For celebrating with me, and commiserating. Now I need to get back to the story, finish book one, so I can put out the call for beta readers.