A lot has happened for a new year. Three rejections and one acceptance and we’re not even half way into January.
It’s easy to be happy with a submission acceptance. It is, after all, kinda the objective. Right at this moment, it’s the best thing in the world to know someone else sees something of worth in my writing, and also wants others to see it. #yes
On the other side of the coin, I work really hard not to be down about rejection. Because it is a numbers game. The number of places to send work is approaching infinity minus one and matching my little story to the right publication, which is open to submissions and with the right editor at the right time, well, it sometimes feels miraculous. And I am not being rejected. My story is.
It is very easy too, to focus too much on the tally. As much as publications should be celebrated, keeping count can become…too intense, because it is not the number in the end that matters. It is the work.
So I’m continuing to plod away.
There is the work of the writing and editing and polishing.
Then there is the work of finding places to send works to.
Then there is waiting to hear back, and re-editing and then sending works out to different places if they are rejected. Or working with editors to make the final published story as shiny and new as possible.
Amid all this, it’s bad to compare career trajectories or achievements between writers because each offers something different. One of my undergrad lecturers kept a story for 20 years because he knew fashions would change and it would be published. I know too, that the success of other people does not take away from my potential for success. In fact, I believe the opposite. The more success the merrier and I am happy for the publications and recognition earned by my fellow writers.
But still. It’s tempting to allow myself to wonder if I have to work harder to get where others seem to be (apparently) so easily?
Intellectually, I’m aware this is not true. But sometimes it feels like it could be true if I let myself wallow in my own perceived lack of success. It would feel true of I allow myself to entertain the notion that I’m an outsider and that *everyone else* is in the non-imposter publication, creative arts industry insider guild, or whatever it’s called because I don’t know because I’m not a member.
There is no real point comparing my work or my achievements to others. Because I am me.
I am behind and I’m ahead. I am unique but unoriginal. Or original and not unique, because every body is doing original now. Not old. Not new, not sure about ’emerging’.
And I know my flaws because, as a harsh self critic, that is what one becomes an expert in. I procrastinate, sometimes I take a long time to write because of the usual life things, like a full-time job, which is also an excuse because many writers work full-time.
Too much time is spent, or not enough, is spent here and on social media, when I should be doing the writing. I spent years thinking I should write before eventually attempting it.
My old frenemy, failure. My familiar. Something I am afraid of as much as I am scared of what success means.
There’s too much I don’t know and sometimes I’m frozen in place thinking of everything I’ve forgotten. It occurs to me I’m trying to run a marathon where the rules shift even as I edge closer to the horizon finish line…that is..still…over that…one…last..hill.. and my bad knee is complaining.
I’m unsure about my work, and too sure and sometimes this is simultaneous. I am a genuine fraud and a poor reality.
So even though I said I work hard on acceptance, sometimes every rejection is a blow, other times it is par for the course.
And, of course every acceptance is a life affirming miraculous event, and, strangely, also, par for the course.