I submitted a short story to an on-line magazine recently and heard back from them with a nice ‘Thank you, but no thank you’ note. Getting these notes use to be hard for me, I would go through a major u-turn and stop submitted for months and maybe not even write anything new for a while. The ego would sneak in and whisper ‘see, you’re not as good as you think you are…Why even bother trying again, you’ll just get another rejection letter…they don’t like your writing, change the way you write…’ But I survived the last no thank you note and I will recover from this one as well. I will submit the story and find the right home for it. Julia Cameron speaks about survival in The Artist’s Way:
One of the most difficult talks an artist must face is a primal one: artistic survival. All artists must learn the art of surviving loss: loss of hope, loss of face, loss of money, loss of self belief. In addition to our many gains, we inevitably suffer these losses in an artistic career. They are the hazards of the road and, in many ways, its signposts. ~ Julia Cameron
I think it’s important to recognize the loses to gain strength and survival. I don’t disregard the criticism, if I need to revise a piece of work to make it better than I will do the work. As I work on my manuscript with my editor, I’ve experienced great loss. I’ve lost the original work, the story that I thought was ‘good enough’, but it needed work to tell the story better, in a way that everyone will enjoy. I’m not keeping everyone at an arm’s length anymore, the revisions show that there is something deeper within me and it might have been the fear of success, which artists experience as well.
We must remember that our artist is a child and that what we can handle intellectually far outstrips what we can handle emotionally. We must be alert to flag and mourn our losses…The unmourned disappointment becomes the barrier that separates us from future dreams. Not being cast in the role that’s yours, not being asked to join the company, having the show canceled or the play unreviewed – these are losses.
I have mourned the loss of stories that are not accepted, and I end up saving them in a file “for later” and one day I will go back and read the stories again. But when? Really and I going to revise the story I wrote twenty years ago, when there are so many other stories to be written? Why not! Why not revisit the story that gave me such joy when I first wrote it, when the idea was given to me, the story was presented by the muse and she had a reason to give it to me in the first place. So I ask myself again, why not!
Now, I make another commitment to myself and to you. As I work on the final stages of my manuscript, I will make room for the other stories, the new ones, the ones that have been lingering around because like I expressed before, the story was given to me for a reason. Creativity is to be shared and there is a story to be shared. What story do you want to share?
Until next time, keep on typing….