Rain falls like a rushing creek outside my window. If I close my eyes I can picture the meandering water in my mind. The sharp edges of stones worn smooth in its crawl to find freedom in the sea. Wouldn’t that be every raindrop’s dream? Freedom from their work in the water-cycle to swim… to simply be. They’re always on the go, those water droplets, from one responsibility to the next. Crowded like cattle in icy-cold clouds, squeezed in next to every other raindrop. Can you imagine? They must just drift off in their fixed confinement before plummeting a mile to… what I can only imagine they hope… is a softly padded, moss-coated branch. Maybe there’s time for a moment’s thought, a moment of what if? A moment of hope to venture out on their own… although as one water drop is swept up in the drink of a bird, another absorbs into the bark of the tree. Their work is never done. Raindrop dreams of something more… when is there time while the water cycle keeps spinning?
As writers and artists, I wonder if we hope for that same moment of freedom in our own lives. The opportunity to take a step away from the wheel, to swim in that imagined dreamlike space we’ve visualized for ourselves.
Many of us have life responsibilities, and in the small confines of time, still find the courage to put ourselves out there. We strike out against the rhythmic beat in our steps, in hopes of a little raindrop dance of our own. Although, this step outside our cycles can surely lead to a rollercoaster of emotions. And that can either lead to the motivation we need to continue sharing, or be the iron anchor stopping us in our tracks.
Several weeks ago, I sent some poetry out to various publications. A few days ago, I received a rejection email. I know as a writer, these will come. I’ve had them before, and I’ve published before. It goes back and forth.
I am a big girl.
I can handle it.
But, it still hurts. It is still a splash in the face, leaving you wondering if you should just hop back onto the water wheel. And sometimes, that choice seems like the simplest way to go.
Then, today I received an email that one of my poems is going to be published. I felt happiness and pride, and quite honestly peace that a very special poem found its home.
The good news is that I remember hearing this kind of ebb and flow of rejections and successes at the PNWA Writer’s Conference last summer. I took all kinds of classes from all kinds of authors, and every single one of them experienced this type of up and down publishing dance.
I can’t imagine it gets any easier, even for the most published authors, or noted artists. It can never feel good to put yourself out there, only to have your work dismissed. Or worse, to be told your work isn’t any good. As I posted two weeks ago, https://stepsinbetween.com/2017/10/09/simple-truths-inspired-by-author-michelle-nelson-schmidt/, successful and published children’s author and artist, Michelle Nelson-Schmidt, was once told her art work wasn’t any good. Nobody would be interested in a rhyming book. Thankfully, she didn’t listen to these opinions, and took her own advice to continue looking for her people, her tribe. She kept putting herself out there until she found them. And when she did, the floodgates opened.
Taking her message to heart, I decided when reading my latest rejection email, that instead of feeling terrible, I would send out even more poems. Although to be honest, I still felt terrible. And I haven’t sent those poems out yet, but I am in the process of revising, and researching publications to do just that. Because just like Julia Robert’s character, Vivian, declares in Pretty Woman, “I say who! I say when…” I am in charge of my creative destiny – not anyone else.
Check out this list of epic writers who were first rejected, and some, rejected again and again: http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/05/17/50-iconic-writers-who-were-repeatedly-rejected/
Never give up. If writing or creating is your dream, then write and create. Keep after it, because you never know what might happen. My advice for any writer or artist out there is to have some of your work in the chute. Then, turn it around right away, getting even more work out there. Take a class, practice your skills. Work on lots of projects, so you can gain distance from others… for just a spell before getting back to them. After reading the list at the link above, I don’t think you’re going to want to give up on anything too soon.
My point is, have a plan for the bad days, the rejection days. Have something ready you are holding on to, so when these rainstorms come and throw your search for freedom into a frenzied storm, you can fight back. You can close your eyes, and instead of hearing the rain crash down on your drooping rain gutter, you can picture that trickling creek winding through nature on its path to the sea. It’s all a matter of perception.
This would be after you have your 24 hour (or less) pity-party (because you are allowed that). But then, it’s off to the sea…
Categories: Thoughts on writing...