Well, it’s been a rough summer. I won’t bore you with the details. But I’ve had one very positive thing happen: a publication picked up a creative non-fiction piece of mine, and it will be published this coming Wednesday.
This is a piece I wrote five years, two houses, and three manuscripts ago, intending it for an anthology. But the editor of the anthology turned it down. In retrospect, I’m glad. But at the time, I was miffed and hurt. It was good, right? I thought so. I couldn’t see how it could be improved. I submitted it to Ruminate. (I didn’t volunteer there at that time.) They, too, rejected it, though the editor said it was a strong piece and had made it to the final stages of being considered for publication. (Now I realize that means there were multiple people who had voted ‘yes’ on it.) Those words of encouragement, written years ago by a stranger, stayed in my mind. This was a good piece of writing. It needed to find a home.
But it was rejected again. And again. And again. And at some point, I think I gave up on it.
Then a few months ago, I posted a blog and another blogger–that would be you, Dyane!–told me that I needed to have it published. That hasn’t happened for that particular piece, but her words did make me reconsider my essay. Hmm.
I re-read it, and felt convinced that someone, somewhere, needed to read this. I don’t know who or where. So I began submitting it. And got more rejections.
This past week, @Altarwork began following me on Twitter. Naturally, I checked out their twitter feed and website, and I liked what I saw. (Go check them out and dig around on their site. It’s worth the time, I promise.) I also thought that maybe they would be interested in my writing. Checked their submission guidelines. Checked the piece for odd typos. Followed the guidelines. Clicked “submit.” And waited. And got the answer I’d been waiting for: yes.
(See how valuable words of encouragement are?)
Lesson to learn: don’t give up. That applies to more than writing and publishing; it applies to life. Recently, I attended the funeral of someone who ended her own life. I didn’t know her, but I saw the hopeless grief of the mourners, people I care for, and saw the bewilderment, the questions, the loss left in the wake of her death. I don’t know what she was thinking; no one does. My best guess, based on the times that I’ve been suicidal, is that despair overwhelmed her and she wanted to give up–and did.
There are some things that are valuable, far more valuable than an essay or novel. A person’s life, for one. So if you’re reading this, and you feel discouraged, overwhelmed, despairing, and want to give up, please don’t. Help is out there. You are valuable. You are unique. And you are loved by God. Keep going, my friend.