This photo popped up on my Facebook feed this morning with an invitation to “see your memories.”
I usually live life at my toes, not my heels, preferring to look forward and not back. But this made me pause, stopping dead in my tracks for a firm moment of reflection.
Three years ago, I sent my very first submission package to a literary agent. I had no clue what I was doing and didn’t lead with my best foot. The query was lousy as the manuscript was completely unready. I miraculously got a request from this letter but received rejection for years on this and another manuscript.
I thought this letter was the hard part. I thought once I “finished” the book, things would be smooth sailing.
Rejection hurt. If you’re a writer, you know what I mean.
But, I kept going, found critique partners, and beta read for others. I improved my writing, figured out what it took to be better, started a blog that cataloged what I learned, deeply researched the industry, and (most importantly) I never stopped.
Now, I own a publishing company with six signed authors (and counting), I’m releasing my nonfiction book the first quarter of this year, and I write for a living with a salaried position as a writer for a multi-million-dollar company.
I took the negative (rejection) and learned from it, turning it into positive (a growing understanding of the industry). I turned myself into a professional.
I’m still working on my fiction. I still struggle to find time to nurture my own writing. I still doubt myself every day. But I don’t let any of that become an excuse!
I’m not bragging. I’m BEGGING. I’m begging you not to stop. I’m begging you to believe in yourself. I’m begging you to reach for the stars.