Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Writing Rejections--staying Positive
I am completely and utterly behind on my blog reading. I will catch up, eventually. You've probably wondered what I've been up to. Well I'm up to about five foot four inches but I still have hope that I will get taller.
It's good to have a dream, right?
Anyway, today's post is about rejection. No, not a romantic rejection but one on your writing. In my workshop group today, they announced the winners of one of writing contest. Alas, I did not win. This was probably due to the fact that I did not enter. I meant to enter but I got busy and didn't.
Someone was wondering at the fairness of the contest, the fairness of the judges etc... And I have no problem with them questioning the system. Questions are how you get answers even if those answers taste like moldy cheese.
But the truth is, as a writer, you will get rejected. Repeatedly. Last year alone, I had 48, yes 48, separate rejections of my poetry and short stories. There are days when I wonder if I'm wasting my time. There are days when I think I'm the suckiest writer on the Earth.
Yet on some level, I know that's not true. I'm not the best writer in the world. I've read that person's book and I cannot write they way they do. That's okay. I write like me and not them. Which is good because I'd look silly wearing their underwear and living their life.
Each day I work at my writing, I become a better writer. I don't stink like sweaty feet in the jungle but I won't win the Nobel Prize in Literature either. I'm learning to be accept that.
I'm okay with being rejected because it means I put myself out there. I didn't give up even when I really, really wanted to.
Writing is one of those professions where being rejected is part of the job. You will get rejected, shredded, criticized, and edited. But you'll also inspire, titillate, interest, educate, and entertain a hundred others. Writing is not a win or lose proposition but rather a win AND lose proposition.
No one writes perfectly when evaluated by a critic. And every writer, my dear, has critics. A critic is your worst enemy and best friend. A critic will tell you when you have run-on sentences, don't have a good story arc, or if your rhymes are purile. A good critic will also tell you when your imagery is inspired, your words touching, and your meter is lyrical.
A good critic sees you writing in all it's glorious excellence and flaws.
Rejection is how you learn as a writer.
If you can't stand to lose then don't be a writer or a professional sports player, you'll just end up miserable.
And who likes that? Not me.