The process of getting back to normal has been more challenging than I expected. Part of it is the jet lag (though I think I’m mostly over that other than a lingering propensity for early mornings). Part of it is that my ears still haven’t popped and that’s just annoying me all the time. Part of it is trying to get caught up on two weeks of work while new work continues to come in and I’m also covering a coworker who’s left on her own trip. The last major part of it is still processing all the things I saw and experienced, and figuring out how that gets incorporated into my day-to-day life.

Just the same, there’s definitely been improvements in my writing efforts. I’ve done three editing sessions this week, where I’d been struggling to do one. I got two of my three completed short stories back out for submission to magazines and I’m hoping to have the third back out today.

Resubmitting the short stories was surprisingly anxiety-inducing. Each of these stories has been submitted and rejected multiple times without any particular anxiety, so I was surprised to have that reaction this time. I’m not going to say I’ve never had any nervousness about it, but even when I first started I had more excitement than fear. I’m guessing that a combination of time away from it and the general issues I’ve been having with getting writing done are part of it. However, I suspect it’s the repeated rejections that are the largest part of the problem.

None of the individual rejections I’ve received have hit me particularly hard. I know, rationally, that they’re part of the process and that I’m going to receive a lot more of them in the future. But on some level the repetition is probably taking its toll. I currently have ten rejections under my belt and I know that in the grand scheme of a writer’s career, this is nothing. Unfortunately, what I know intellectually and what I feel in my heart are rarely the same thing.

So while my brain is doing alright with the rejections and is prepped for many more, my heart is likely looking at those rejections suspiciously and starting to wonder if they mean something more. Maybe, rather than just meaning that story wasn’t what that magazine needed right now, maybe – just maybe – it means that story is NO GOOD (yes, that would be capitalized in my heart’s assessment). And if that story, which was born of my thoughts and feelings and experiences is NO GOOD, then perhaps I, as the person that created it, am also NO GOOD. I’m sure you can see how that might have a lot of implications and feelings tied to it that could result in a bit of anxiety around submitting things.  

This is not a cry for validation or praise. I am, generally, confident in my writing and happy with it. I’m still learning and growing and finding things that need work, for sure, but that’s true of any endeavor in life. It might even be worthwhile for me to take a look at these rejected stories and see if I’ve gained any distance to better assess places where I could tighten them up a bit. I know I can write well and success will come with time, practice and effort.

I think this is more a call for me to make sure that my strategy for dealing with rejections is more than just focusing on the rational and pushing the fears of the heart aside. I can shove them away all I want but they’ll still be there, whispering in the corners. Like all my fears, it will take more than rationalization to make them go away but this is not something I have much in my mental health toolbox for. So, I ask my writer friends who read this (or anyone that deals with similar issues) – any tips for dealing with the buildup of small rejections over time?

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