My ex-husband kindly wrote me to say he was sorry that I was not accepted to grad school. "It's okay," I wrote back, "because writers are used to rejection." Oh, the rejection letters we receive and then let pile up in a drawer of our desk.
This week, I started returning to my original roots as a writer--submitting creative work to journals. I sent out two pieces so far. One was an experimental prose-like wandering about love. And I sent it to a source that will likely reject me outright. I once worked as an intern for the very nice editor who, as I discovered painfully later, found my personality to conflict with the office M.O. (And I cannot apologize enough for that, but I was not entirely myself that year. Lesson learned. Can we move on now?)
The second piece was a nearly 9000 word novelette, as some term it. I have had this one for at least 7 years and I still find the story to be very strong. I picked it up again, reworked some aspects of it, and after years of looking for the right home for it, submitted it to a journal that specializes in the "long short story." The chances of that rejection are strong as the journal has a 2 percent acceptance rate.
So why try at all? Eventually, somebody somewhere will find something I write acceptable, and my greater failure would be to quit writing. I am tired, however, of hearing people quote Thomas Edison who said about his own efforts to create the lightbulb that he had just found 2000 ways to not make one. Such a nice thing for Edison to have said, but I am sure he would sit over a beer once in a while and moan over his not-yet-lighting bulb project.
The potential of rejection always will loom. One day, though, I might be able to say to my children, "Honey, I've been there. I know it's hard, but you have to keep trying. Your efforts will pay off." In the meantime, I'll keep writing, and I have decided to push the freelance biz harder than I have. It's time to embrace a little more self-confidence, own my talent, and define my own worth.