Always we begin again
– St Benedict
I received a rejection in my email yesterday. It was particularly difficult because a few days before Christmas I had a telephone conversation with the editor of the press where she told me how much she wanted to see my book in the world. We talked briefly about the terms, and left it with her needing to sort through their upcoming publications to see if there was a place for my book.
It felt promising.
Though in reality our conversation came about after I received an email from her with news that I wasn’t selected for the first book award contest where I was one of five finalist. People say it’s an honor to be a finalist, but the reality is losing sucks. I was only partially comforted by the editor’s request that I call her to talk about her interest in publishing my book.
It seemed as if I was really close to a book deal.
Then came the rejection. The email was kind and personal, but a no nonetheless.
After a few tears and a little wandering around Target, I was faced with the question of where to send it next. Though to be honest, there was a part of me that wanted to say the hell with it. I toyed with the idea of giving up the whole writing thing. I questioned the sanity of subjecting myself to continued rejection. But after a prep-talk from my husband, sometime in prayer and a glass or two of wine, I realized the more important question is how do I sure myself up so that a rejection doesn’t feel so devastating?
Rejection is a very real part of the writing life. We all know that, but it doesn’t take away the sting. It’s as if the editor’s no confirms our greatest fear that we aren’t good enough. We wonder if perhaps our parents were right to suggest we pursue something with a future – and a salary. But the truth is we didn’t choose writing. It chose us. We write because we have to.
Truth is I feel better about life in general when I’m writing. Writing clears my head. It clarifies and expands my thinking. It opens my eyes to the things below the surface of what is said or done. It helps me understand myself and the world around. It’s my lifeline.
No rejection can take that away.
So I begin again. I will look for new places to send my book and continue to write.
Prior to receiving the rejection email, signed up for a 52 week writing challenge. I loved the idea of writing one essay a week and posting it. It seemed to be the perfect writing goal for the year. It would give me the opportunity to develop my ideas and actually write the reflections and commentaries that float around my head. It would also be a way to produce more work while actively working on my craft.
However, after processing this last rejection it seems my ultimate writing goal for this year is to continue to write and submit, taking each rejection in stride, knowing that always we begin again.