No one ever said writing would be easy. It’s a blood sport and you have to be willing to take a number of brutal blows to your confidence. First, there’s the inner critic who always has a nasty word on the tip of her tongue. Then, there’s a reader who doesn’t get it. And don’t forget the agent who isn’t interested or the editor who thinks your short story isn’t good enough. The list goes on and on.
At the moment, my inner critic is basking in the fact that I’ve lost yet another writing contest. She’s quick to point out that this is the fourth one where I haven’t impressed anyone. It feels a lot like sipping lemonade with a fat lip. A year ago, a blow like this would have sent me slouching in a corner for a month. Not now. If anything, I’m determined to come back swinging. Four is a little number and I’ve come to look at it like a rite of passage. Every writer with a published book has been rejected more than once and it just so happens to be my turn to pay those dues.
Instead of focusing on the loss, I’m going to focus on my victories over the last few months. My dream of becoming a writer is slowly coming true one little step at a time. The victories are small, but they all lead towards the larger goal of finding a publisher.
1. In April, I launched a blog that people actually read. After much trepidation, I started this blog as a way to motivate my muse. It’s been an amazing experience and I couldn’t be more grateful for each person who stops by to read my work.
2. In June, I finished the final draft of my novel. After three years of toil, my first novel can be classified as edited and revised. To make the journey even more fulfilling, I found the courage to share my work with four beta readers. The response was overwhelmingly positive, which makes the next step of querying agents so much easier to take.
3. On August 10, 2011 The Daily Post chose to feature Muse Juice. This was the first time something I’ve written showed up on a site other than my own. Very exciting, indeed.
4. On August 11, 2011, I got the shock of my life when The Best Souvenirs Are Free was Freshly Pressed. For a writer who has never been published, this was absolutely amazing. I’m still giddy.
5. On Thanksgiving Day my letter about a random act of kindness was published in The Arizona Republic. For the first time, I saw my pen name in print. My muse and I celebrated with a happy dance. This victory means the world to me as its the first time an editor chose to publish my work.
The process has only just begun and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Yes, the rejections are plentiful and always forthcoming, but the victories (no matter how small) outweigh every “no” I receive.