Any writer, whether published or still trying to break the glass plane of the industry, will tell you how difficult it is to succeed in publishing. For most writers, rejection is a given. There are very rare success stories of immediate publication upon discovery, but most writers have to pay their rejection dues. Rejection is such a standard in our industry that books and seminars have been published on everything from how to avoid rejection to how to cope with rejection. One of my favorite books is one that has stories of early rejection from some best selling authors.
How I handle rejection depends on the day. There are some days when I take it with a casual shrug and some days where I’m hopping mad. Still there are other days when I’m ready to pack it in. I allow myself to doubt my talent and question whether or not the investment I’ve made thus far is worth it. I’m not speaking strictly of the financial investment. There is one, but there’s also an emotional investment and an investment of time.
This weekend, I witnessed something that reminded me that sometimes you just have to accept the rejection. You have to know what you want and be willing to go after it no matter what it takes. You have to be willing to push past the pain.
Believe it or not, this revelation came in the form of a junior cheerleading championship. Those of you who know me, or know a little bit about me, know that I have a daughter who’s a competitive cheerleader. Side note, anyone who tells you cheerleaders aren’t real athletes and don’t work hard hasn’t seen the effort this sport takes.
This past weekend, my family and I traveled to Long Beach, California for the Jamfest National Cheerleading Championships. Even if you don’t know anything about cheerleading, I’m sure you can imagine that nationals are a big deal. My daughter has spent months learning the routine and perfecting her tumbling. The fact that she even went was a small miracle in and of itself given that she sustained a knee injury in early March that sidelined her for a month and forced her coaches to pull her tumbling pass from the routine.
The two day competition was scheduled to take place Saturday March 31st and Sunday April 1st. Wouldn’t you know my daughter started to come down with a cold on Wednesday night. It started with a stuffy nose and sore throat. By Friday night, the cough was added. Saturday morning, my daughter was run down and tired but she competed anyway. Saturday night, we hit the hotel bed early only to be awakened late in the evening by her coughing that kept up for quite some time. During this time, my husband mentioned telling the coach she might not be able to compete on Sunday. My daughter’s answer was ‘I have to compete’. With the aid of non drowsy cough syrup and her can do attitude, she pushed past the pain and competed. The prize for this perseverance came in a third place finish for the squad and a life lesson for both of us.
After seeing my daughter so determined to compete and see her hard work to fruition, it started me thinking about my writing journey. It made me remember that sometimes things are difficult and don’t happen as fast as you want them to or even in the manner you want them to, but hard work can and does pay off. You just have to push past the pain.
Next time I'm feeling blue about being rejected, I'll think of my daughter. If a twelve year old athlete can do it for a lot less payoff then I can too.