@Ressurrection Graves posed the question “What have you learned this year?” on her blog at http://ressurrection.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/what-have-you-learned-this-year/
I was amazed to find my answer.
In 2012 I learned to embrace rejection.
Now I am aware no one loves rejection but the challenge is what you do with it. Throughout my life I primarily dealt with rejection by literally and metaphorically just going home. With a proper amount of therapy I am sure I could identify scores of places where this patterned ruled my life but let’s not go there. I am certain though that I never dated much because I couldn’t handle the rejection. I developed a patterned of just hanging out until a date was inevitable.
I sent my first piece of writing off to a publisher over twenty five years ago. When the rejection letter came back I put the piece and the letter in a file and put them away. I did not again submit anything for twenty five years. In both writing and in my personal life I never considered just forging ahead. Nor did I consider reflecting and improving. I am afraid I missed out on some things. Though I have been married to Pam thirty six years and I am thankful she never rejected me.
This year though I said to rejection bring it on. I submitted Henry on Fire to over seventy agents and publishers and to numerous critiques. The most typical rejection was much like my dating life, “it’s not you it’s us.”
I said to rejection bring it on. I kept submitting and I kept rewriting. The manuscript kept getting better and better. In fact it improved so much I thought about writing the first set of people I submitted to and saying thank you as well as apologizing.
In the end I self-published Henry on Fire and that might seem like I was trying to avoid more rejection but remember I decided to pass on the therapy approach to the issue. I self-published so that I could get on with other writing projects and so that I could expose myself to a whole other level of rejection, so far the feedback has been very positive.
I would love to embrace a publishing contract but in the meantime I am ready to embrace rejection and forge ahead.