From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Thursday, February 3, 2011

When You're Down and Troubled

So, it's been one of those weeks where I've gotten several rejections, lost several competitions. Usually rejections don't phase me in the least, but several of them added to losing multiple competitions in one week can get you kind of down. Most of the time I'm chipper as can be about facing the dreaded who-knows-how-long-it-will-be pre-published era of a writers life. I've gotten some small publications under my belt, for which I am eternally grateful, but I know I'm barely starting that part of my writing career. I'm still working on my first book, and still presumptuously submitting to magazines like McSweeney's and The New Yorker. But weeks like this seem to call up every rejection and every ounce of effort I've put in to writing since seventh grade, all the research and staying at school until midnight with my teachers getting ready for next-day competitions (again, eternal gratitude), and it's not like others have not worked just as hard, which I know they have, and its not like I'm more talented and deserving, which I know I'm not, but I HAVE worked hard for a long, long time, and it's just been a while since I've had anything to show for it. Basically, some validation would be nice, even though of course I'll keep writing regardless. It would just be good to not feel like a hack, you know?

What do you do when lack of validation starts getting to you? I mean, other things in my life are going great, and there are still awesome things in the world that make me happy, but that doesn't necessarily translate into feeling writerly validated. I don't think I'm alone in feeling like this every once in a while, am I? What do you do to make yourself feel better about your writing--when writing success hasn't happened in a while? I think its just a matter of patience, and there's nothing you can really do except keep writing and keep submitting.

Anyway, I think the point here is that sometimes things just don't work out as quickly or as well as you want them too, but thats okay because it happens to lots of people, and what makes the difference between succeeding and not is that you stick with it. I wish you the best of writing luck.

Sarah Allen


  1. Sarah, Dealing with rejection is the worst part of being a writer. Sounds like you usually handle it well but you got socked with several all at once, never a nice feeling. One thing I've learned is to allow myself to feel it and don't try to sugarcoat it. Weep and wail and so on, but set a time limit. Then when you're done, move back to the writing. It really does help to let it all out! I think that writing a blog and getting your work out to an audience regularly really helps, too. Keep at it!

  2. I guess it's part of the writer's life. Heck, it's part of all of our lives. I guess the best thing to do is just keep being optimistic and keep on plugging away. Wallowing in our defeats gets depressing and enervating.

    Just keep moving onward is the way I see it.

    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

  3. Thank you guys so much for your kind words and advice. I really appreciate it. Your ideas are good ones.



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