“The un-mourned disappointment becomes the barrier that separates us from future dreams.”
Julia Cameron ‘The Artist’s Way’
We often speak of birthing our stories, so when they are not picked up, it hurts. Too often we pick ourselves right back up and soldier on, which is good because sometimes it was not meant for that publisher. But if there comes a time when your baby must be set aside in an effort to begin a different manuscript all together, you must allow yourself to grieve.
Chapter 8 in Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way titled, Recovering a Sense of Strength warns us not to skip this important step. Your future success might depend on it.
How do you grieve a disappointment?
Do you beat yourself up, speak awful self talk to the tearful face in the mirror? “You are dreaming, to think you can write! Didn’t your fourth grade teacher Mrs. Fletcher tell you not to pursue writing as a career?”
Or maybe you hyper-spiritualize it. “Well that just must not be the will of God for me. After all, if it was, it would have sold to the first person we sent it to!”
Or maybe you throw your agent under the bus in a Facebook post. “I want to let the world know I have terminated my relationship with Hiflalutin Agency. They are incompetent, and couldn’t get a writer a contract if their life depended on it!”
Grief.com lists the five stages of grief as: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Above we listed an example of a few.
The truth is- you will feel each of these when your material is rejected. While you may cycle through them quickly, pay attention to each stage. Own it. Then make a healthy decision based on what is TRUE.
Sometimes a certain genre has flooded the market. Sometimes your writing is just not stellar enough to compete with others. And sometimes, that book was meant to teach you something so the NEXT one finds a publishing home.
It is tempting, but don’t rush the process. Acknowledge it, and share it.
And in the meantime, “Set a guard over my mouth Lord, and a watch over my lips…”
Be kind to yourself and others.