Writing Myth #8 — You have to avoid rejection

Join me each month as I share a myth from my book The 9 Biggest Writing Myths (and how to move beyond them). This month we’ll explore the myth about being immune to rejection.

Myth #8 - You have to avoid rejection

Photo by Kristina Alexanderson, Flickr, licensed by Creative Commons

Published writers have a certain something that sets them apart (or so we’d like to believe). We’re not talking talent here but courage. They are brave souls who know what they want and go after it. Rejection letters bounce right off of their bullet-proof vests. To heck with the world, they say, and then forge on. And this is true—in part.

True that they move on; false that they always do so with grace, enthusiasm, or even courage.

Rejections hurt. They pierce the skin. They make any sane person want to run for cover, including the most successful of writers. Some, in fact, do go into hiding, holing up for days, weeks, even months to lick their wounds and wait until their skin has thickened. The road back is often long and arduous, but here’s the thing:

They make the journey anyway.

It’s not courage that drives them forward but another imperative— they have to. They have something to say, to share, and one lifetime isn’t long enough to get it all in. And so, they must get it all out onto paper.

This we can understand. It’s an understanding that’s not only intellectual but physical. We can feel our projects within us, pushing, pushing, pushing, to get out. They are living, breathing creatures that want to go forth in the world. They will die if they stay within us much longer, which means a part of us will die as well. This is too great a loss. Already we can feel the pain.

But what then do we do? How do we, with our lack of courage and trembling knees, allow our writing to see the light of day? By understanding, perhaps for the very first time, two of the most important words in any language: “I matter.”

You matter. Your life, your ideas matter. What you have to say, to give, matters. Your writing matters. It is a part of you and for that reason alone, it has a right to exist in this world. So give birth to it.

Think beyond the labor pains to the joys of bringing a new life forth. Become both the parent and the child. Become in both your eyes a person who matters.

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