Peaks and Valleys

Rejection can be incredibly painful. In the writing world, it can sometimes be even more so. Our written words come from inside of us, the story we tell, and having it rejected or critiqued is like purposefully baring our souls to the lash.

There have been many articles written on turning a rejection letter into a blessing. Understanding what it is about our writing or story that needs to change in order to be accepted for publication is key to moving forward. Critique makes our writing better.

That’s why the writing community is important. We can commiserate with other writers about rejections, encourage one another to keep moving forward, or brainstorm ideas about how to fix story problems.

But I find the craziest part of the writing saga has to do with timing. A great example of that is my last 36 hours. It started with a rejection letter. Funny thing about this rejection letter is that in a matter of a few sentences, it confirmed an inkling I had about a weak area in the novel. That provided the impetus I needed to go to work on it.

I’ve found that my experience helping others write well benefits me so that I recognize areas that need fixing in my own work. The problem lies in trusting my own work to my instincts. Critiquing one’s own writing is, as I mentioned earlier, opening one’s self to self-criticism. Tricky business.

Thus, yesterday was spent wrestling with the novel and doing research. Then I opened my email this morning. Waiting there was an acceptance letter for one of my short stories. “The Wrinkled Driver” will appear in the September issue of Cat on a Leash Review(Stay tuned to my Facebook Page for details)

Writing is all about peaks and valleys. It’s like the story arcs we create. It’s also like life. There are good parts and difficult parts. But each serves to create part of the vista. Being an Illinoisan, I understand how beautiful yet boring flat cornfields can be. Perhaps that’s what gives me a deep awe for the majesty of mountains.

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