‘let the past be in the past’

Lately, I’ve been feeling very spacey. My self-image is out of whack and I feel like I’m looking at things the wrong way. I feel like someone has told me a story and left out a lot of important details, so I find myself trying to remember a conversation I never had.

Writing is so subjective. It’s so subjective, it hurts. I’ve gotten two rejections on manuscripts in the past four weeks and, to be honest, they’re really nice rejections lol. They both say they really like my story, like a lot, but definitely not enough to champion it. That’s fair. In the moment, I’m like, ‘damn’, but I do understand that feeling. Lots of people in the publishing community put it like this: there are a list of bestsellers, but it’s not like you personally like all of them or will read all of them. Sometimes you can acknowledge something is good/timely/well-produced, but have no interest in seeing or reading it. I’m cool with that.

Actually, I’m really surprised how resilient I’ve become in the past few years. In 2012, I started taking writing seriously and began the arduous task of landing a literary agent. I still don’t have one, but 4 (or is it 5?) manuscripts later, and I’ve gained confidence and a deeper understanding of my craft, so I’m happy. And I know I’ll find an agent. In the mean time, it’s nice to learn new lessons along the way. When I was an adolescent and was pretending to be shy, I really didn’t entertain the idea of ever putting myself out there. It was only in 2016 that I allowed other people (not including agents I’ve been querying) to read my work. That was the year I did a live reading at a literary festival in front of agents and editors and festival goers. It was nerve-wracking (seriously, there’s not enough water to quench that type of nervous thirst) but a very good push into the deep end. I’m still hesitant to let people read my work, but I understand I must do so in order to get better. It’s still a process, though.

Somehow this became about resilience. I can honestly say that rejection isn’t a thing that phases me anymore. I’ve learned that people’s tastes are different and that’s fine. I’ve divulged the most personal parts of myself — my writing — to total strangers, and been told no time and time again, but I don’t think I’m a bad writer. I think I’m very good, actually, with much room to improve. You can’t internalize that kind of stuff anyway, the bad stuff, the rejections. It doesn’t do anything in the long run to help you succeed. And success is really what I’m after.

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