Posting has been light lately, but it’s because I’ve been busy with my latest manuscript. For me, getting that first draft down is tough. However, I love revising. (Weird, huh?) I really think I could revise a piece forever, continuously getting charged up from finding boo-boos here and tightening up my prose there.
My wife, who is also a strict critic and proofreader, recently suggested the real reason might be more than the pleasure of “getting the words right,” as Hemingway described the process of revision — it might also be fear of taking that frightening leap of submitting my work.
Yikes! She’s probably on to something. I’ll admit it IS scary to hit that submit button. For me, it’s at least as terrifying as that first backward jump in rappelling, or seeing the earth vanish from under your feet when you launch yourself hang gliding. And I’ll also admit to still being touchy about rejection even though intellectually, I know that’s part of the game. Hey, it hurts to offer your heart and have it pushed aside. But again, that’s the nature of the beast.
Here’s a no-nonsense reminder of that cardinal rule of the writer’s life, from alto at Matters of the Art:
You will be rejected. Often. Get over it early, because it never really goes away. Though realize you are not alone. In the course of my MFA, while researching for an assignment, I stumbled upon an article about author rejections. The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Fiddlehead, and every other high end lit rag has rejected every single famous writer out there countless times. It doesn’t matter who you are. Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Walker, all know the sting of rejection.
If misery loves company, I guess knowing you have some high-caliber company eases the hurt just a bit.
BTW, I heartily recommend alto’s article. It’s sound advice I wish I’d read decades ago, not just on dealing with rejection, but on other vital truths about writing.
Anyway, I finally let go and hit that “Submit” button. My latest wip is out there, swimming upstream in a digital slush pile.