Don’t give up

f2927c549dfc4b7995379a47cec9f05fWell, 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.Ā 

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. Ā 

 

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12 thoughts on “Don’t give up

  1. Congratulations, Laura — I’m really looking forward to seeing your piece. It’s great that you persisted with it; it’s so easy to get discouraged with writing, when (and this is certainly my experience!) the rejections outnumber the acceptances. A little boost of encouragement can go a long way.

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    1. Thanks, Jeannie. My rejections for my first novel numbered in the 60s, I think, before I gave up querying that particular one! It’s so hard being rejected. On the flip side, as a Ruminate reader, it’s hard to click “no” for a lot of pieces; I can tell the author tried so, so hard, but the piece simply wasn’t ready for acceptance. Sometimes, especially if the author is writing in English as their second language or is a teenager (they always announce that in their cover letter, for some reason), I want to write them and say, “Keep going.” But I’m not the one sending the rejection letters.

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  2. I don’t know how you (and other authors) handle so much rejection! So frustrating. I suppose sometimes the rejection is legitimate (someone has overestimated their own talent) but clearly not always. And not referring to you there! I’ve read various stories (as I’m sure you have) of authors rejected a multitude of times, who finally get an acceptance, and the book becomes a huge hit. It is great to hear your essay will be printed soon!! Congrats! I noticed your absence from blogging, and was glad to see this post.

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    1. Laura, thanks for the kind words. I’ve heard stories of those huge hits, and I’ve heard stories of equally talented authors with terrific books that never get published for all sorts of reasons unrelated to the merit of the work. It’s sad to think of all the wonderful books that will never be on the shelves of a bookstore because of publishing woes or financial issues or other things that the authors cannot control or influence. And to think of all the awful books on the shelves that don’t deserve to be there . . . Well, enough of that rant! Can’t control what the reading public wants to buy.

      There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I haven’t thought about blogging, but as I said, it’s been a yucky summer. Not much writing has happened at all. I’m hoping that I can get back into my writing routine before school starts on August 5th, but what are the chances of that?!

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  3. Congratulations! I’m sure your essay is worth reading.

    Sorry to hear that your summer has been tough. I hope things get better for you. Thanks for the encouragement to persevere – we all need it, at some times more sorely than at other times.

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  4. I’m also sorry you’ve had a rough summer, Laura. I hope with all my heart life’s on the upswing now. Today seems like the perfect day for that upswing to start due to the publication of your piece! :))))))

    Enter Dyane “Cheerleader” Harwood: HURRRRAH!

    I am SO PROUD of you for not giving up! You know I’ve written numerous posts about rejection and I relate all to well to the inevitable process writers face when putting their souls, I mean writing, out there.

    Of course I retweeted your tweet as soon as I saw it up today!

    CONGRATULATIONS!

    Thanks for the shout-out; that was very kind, & I’m honored that my encouragement helped you reconsider submitting your essay. I hope you blog more (I’ve missed your posts) and most importantly, I hope you resume your writng routine before August 5th! My girls’ schools don’t start until Aug. 22nd – I’m looking forward to that day! šŸ˜‰

    Once again, the warmest of congratulations!
    Dyane

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      1. I feel good about cheerleading when it comes to your amazing writing. So proud of you, and what a piece that is – how the %*^&*^* could ANYONE reject it? I have a name for such a person, and it rhymes with “drool”.

        Thanks for the article lead – I’ll definitely check it out! šŸ™‚

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      2. Well, I think that in several instances the piece wasn’t a good “fit” for that journal, and in others (I suspect this was the case for Ruminate), there were multiple really, really excellent pieces and not all of them could be included in that issue. Just how it is! I’m just happy that it found a home and other people have enjoyed it.

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