Disclaimer: I wrote this recently after reading a Facebook post that gave me some unwelcome news. Since then I’ve realized all the good things in life, ran to clear my head, and ate a piece of cake called “death by chocolate.” Needless to say I’m feeling much better, but in the rawness of the moment I wrote the following, and I feel it’s important to post it.
They say you can’t win them all, but it doesn’t make you feel any better when you don’t get something you worked really hard for.
I turned the first ten pages of my manuscript in to a contest exclusively for Floridians who write children’s books. I was cocky. The website was crappy, the book titles I saw of current members were lacking, and I thought to myself, I can win this easily.
I paid the dues to become a member, turned in my manuscript, and after several months, I found out today that I didn’t place. Not even an honorable mention. Out of 153 entries I’m unknown. Floating somewhere out there with the other unmentionables. Maybe I would have been the next honorable mention? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter.
The bad feeling in my stomach began on Friday and the feeling worsened over the weekend. I tried to ignore it because I didn’t have any proof other than the growing dread in my gut. But today it was confirmed. My stomach sank. I felt my eyes sting for a second before I told myself to get over it. These things happen. Rejection happens. You can’t be a writer without having a strong backbone to hearing the word “no.”
Doesn’t change the fact that I was really bummed.
It’s funny how it takes so many compliments to build you up, but one negative, actually one lack of interest, to bring you all the way down.
I’m somewhere in a state between frustration and desire to edit my book. I don’t think it’s bad at all. In another contest it might have done well. I know it’s good, it can just be better. I want to edit so bad my fingers won’t stop twitching. But that will have to wait. I don’t want to edit an entire novel based on the nonexistent outcome of one contest. I’ll think on it, pull myself out of this rut, and stop letting these bad moments dictate an entire day. It’s hard though, really hard.
For those of you who have faced rejection (which I’m sure has been all of you at some point or another), you know what I’m talking about. You want to talk about it, but can’t without feeling stupid/upset/anxious or something. So you avoid talking about it because that makes sense. Meanwhile, the moments you forget your troubles are full of bliss and merriment. And then you see that text about your seeming failure that hasn’t been responded to yet and it plunges you right back down the toilet. Yea, lovely visual.
I know I sound a little over dramatic. But I feel like this is a fairly normal pattern most people go through when they are faced with disappointment. And since this feeling is a little fresh, I can’t help but react rather strongly.
Things will get better, I know they will. That’s how I deal with disappointment. I try not to sit in it.