Some of you know I started writing a poem a day earlier this year. That isn’t as easy as it sounds, but I’m persevering. Occasionally, I miss a day which means I have to write two poems the next day. Keeps me on my toes. At a recent critique group meeting, someone mentioned my project and how it was going. I had to admit that even though I enjoy it tremendously, I have no idea whether it’s good poetry or not. I received a bit of an answer to that question on Labor Day.
Earlier this summer I submitted three of my poems, the ones I thought were some of the best, to an online poetry journal who wanted nostalgia poems. I write a lot of nostalgia so I submitted. On Labor Day, I opened my email to find a reply from the editor. Alas, to my disappointment, the editor thanked me, but rejected all three of the poems. Don’t worry, I didn’t cry, wail, or throw up my hands in despair. I simply sat down and wrote more poems which brings me to the subject of this blog.
Rejection is a part of the writer’s life. I came to terms with that early in my writing career. An editor took me under her wing years ago and mentored/critiqued me as I learned to write. On one occasion, I sent her a short story for critique. I received it back with so much red ink splashed across it, you could barely see the story, but at the bottom of the last page, she had written this: ‘You will never be a professional writer unless you learn to take criticism.’ That statement has kept me on an even keel in my writing. When someone rejects a manuscript, I just do the proverbial water rolling off a ducks back and go on about my business. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t like rejection, nobody does. But I learned a long time ago that it doesn’t mean I can’t write or that I’m not a writer. You have to develop a tough hide and keep going. Because somewhere there is someone who thinks you can write and they will be glad to print your words for the world to see.