Last week I decided my files needed some organization. In actuality, as any good writer knows, I was avoiding working on a difficult passage in my current work in progress. So, I opened my file cabinet and, in the process, gave myself a good case of depression.
One of the thickest files in the drawer contained rejections. The earliest one I kept goes back to 1984. Yes, you read that right. I’ve been collecting rejections for over thirty years. I looked at that date and the thick pile and started feeling really sorry for myself and asking the cosmos why I continue to do this if I’m never going to get anywhere with it. I slammed the drawer shut and wallowed in self-pity for most of the day.
Later in the day, knowing the mess that the drawer contained and being – according to my family – obsessively organized, I re-opened the drawer. And it’s a good thing I did. For within the dark confines of that evil drawer, was a Pandora’s box that contained a kernel of hope.
I found a file containing the reviews I’d published in a well-read magazine. There were almost a hundred of them from the decade I’d spent with that publication. Those reviews led to the articles I did for my local newspaper and the ones I do now for various newsletters and magazines.
In addition, there were notes on the hundreds of novels and the college textbooks I’ve edited or copy-edited over the years – some of which went on to win awards of various types. And that doesn’t include the more than 200 documents I’ve worked on as a technical writer nor my own novels, two of which have won awards. Then there was my local RWA newsletter, for which I was the editor and that I slaved over each month as I attempted to present a valuable resource for the group-and that also won awards on the national level.
I looked at my past writing and realized how far I have come since those first weak attempts. I’ve grown and learned and applied those skills to my work and it shows. I can hold my head up and know that my writing has improved immensely over what it once was.
I looked at that pile of accomplishments and compared it to my much smaller heap of rejections and came to a realization: Yes, I’m sad that my novels haven’t been picked up by a major publisher, but I’ve been published – many times. And I know that someday all my work will pay off. But if it doesn’t, I still have something to be proud of. I’ve accomplished an awful lot and most of it while working full or part-time and raising a large family.
So go away, depressing thoughts. I’ve writing to do.
Rock on Vicky!!
I’m really glad you turned that around so you don’t have to be scolded. LOL You know what’s worse than a thick rejection folder after 30 years of effort? A thin rejection folder that reveals 30 years of not trying. You ARE AMAZING and I’m glad you pushed through to see that. 🙂