Yesterday's comments were another testimony of the amazing community here. When "Anonymous" announced that not having been chosen for the Baker's Dozen Auction meant an end to his/her writing pursuits, you rose to the occasion and offered exactly the encouragement--and gentle admonishment--that was needed.
(I didn't even feel the need to jump in. You were all doing beautifully without me.)
Here's the thing. The initial despair that comes with rejection can feel VERY HUGE. So huge, in fact, that we may feel swallowed by it. But after the grand sucking sound of the quicksand, WE REEMERGE. And we move on.
In case there are others of you who are silently planning to quit, let me reiterate what was shared so eloquently and sensitively in yesterday's comment box: This is a subjective business. One man's smelly left sock will be another man's gift card for Best Buy. (Okay, that was a really dumb analogy. Bear with me; I haven't been awake that long.)
And you know what? Maybe an agent or an editor or the hapless slush readers of a blog contest rejected your work because it really wasn't ready. Because it still needed a lot of work. But you know what? THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT YOU SUCK, EITHER. Now, if you don't get good, solid feedback and work your fingers off to MAKE IT BETTER, then, yeah, you're not going to move forward. Not ever. BUT!! (This is a big but.) If you DO keep working; if you DO stay open to critique and keep learning and growing and writing and rewriting, then the only way you can move is FORWARD.
In short: Don't give up.
You know that's my mantra. You know how long my journey has been. I'M STILL HERE. (And I'm not going away.)
Years ago, I submitted a short story to the now-defunct Victoria magazine. Non-fiction, anecdotal--just what they were looking for. And I received the most incredibly snoot-tastic rejection letter ever. (Think "We wish we could accept every submission our readers send; but, alas, we cannot." Gag.)
I might've said to myself, "Wow. I can't even get a story into a magazine with lots of pictures of flowers and Victorian porches in it. I'd better stop writing."
But I didn't.
Then, of course, there was the middle grade fantasy that I queried to death, and, despite several requests for the full, never got me an agent. I loved this story. (I still love it.) But in the end I had to shelve it.
I might've said to myself, "Wow. I've sent a lot of queries and EVERYBODY HATES ME. I'm not going to write anymore."
But I didn't.
So please don't throw the towel in because you don't move forward right away. In fact, this is a principle that applies not only to writing, but to life. I mean, seriously? We don't get things right the first time. Well, sometimes we might. But that's the exception. Most things take time and practice.
Keep practicing. Keep perfecting. Keep GRITTING YOUR TEETH AND PRESSING FORWARD.
And if you honestly don't feel like you can do that? Like it's really not worth it? THAT'S when you quit. THAT'S when you decide that this writing thing isn't for you.
Because it's not for the faint of heart. It's for the TOUGH-SKINNED. The TENACIOUS. The BLEEDIN' STUBBORN.
And, clearly, the SENSITIVE AND SUPPORTIVE. Because that's what you are.
I adore this community. Am both humbled and encouraged by it. Thank you for everything you are, and everything you offer!