When my first book The Boy from Willow Bend came out the first time, the publisher let me know when they submitted it for one of the few awards for which it was eligible. I told only one friend. So had only one person witness to me falling apart (very quietly on the inside, but she knew) when I didn’t even make the long list. I knew I hadn’t made the long list because I pretty much stalked the site, checking in semi-obsessively. See, I knew what even making the list could do to my writing career, but beyond the professional leg up, I wanted it badly, after the years of silent hope and fear that it would never come to be, my book was published, and I wanted to believe that it was worthy, that I was worthy, that I hadn’t put all my eggs into this basket only to have it slip and fall leaving the eggs cracked and runny on the ground.
Of course, that’s what happened, but it was I who was cracked open (to belabor that metaphor just a wee bit more).
The absence of my name on that long list would be only one of many huge disappointments post-publishing – a period of my writing life that had previously existed in this hazy heaven of everything good …before reality hit. I had to quickly adjust to the fact that the road post-publishing, much like the road to publishing, was riddled with pot holes. I was still a working writer who had to struggle for everything from time to write to the will to pick myself up from every rejection. This isn’t strictly true, of course, in between the struggle has been triumphs, being a Burt Award finalist and the coming out of my latest book Musical Youth, only the recent amongst them. But none of it has come easy.
Rejections are still part of the rhythm of my writing life.
Now, some of it has to do with being a writer from a small place sure, but some of it just has to do with being a writer in a sea of writers, and some of it just has to do with …ah so life stay; as my tanty used to say, “leave room for disappointment”.
Life happens, you know.
So, this latest round of musing, coming the week of the release of my latest book, a week of congratulations, and hustle, a week in which life, the good and bad of it did not stop happening, was prompted by this posting It’s not you, it’s me by Emily Lackey… and other things… and the realization that I’ve for the most part stopped obsessing about submissions. I send it out and let it go….which is good and bad…the bad is when the rejection comes in, it’s still hits you like a punch by Mike Tyson… and the rejections keep coming, yes, even post-publishing. The only thing you can do really is fully embrace the non-rejections, the acceptances; continue writing; and keep daring. Because life wins when you give up, or some such cliché.