My writing group has taken off! From the start, it’s been a valuable use of my time, but our recent meetings have been exceptionally motivating.
It’s wonderful — and terrifying. Terrifyingly wonderful.
When we met for the first time last September, two of these three women were complete strangers to me. I’ll never forget how my hands shook as I struggled to read my introductory piece of writing aloud. At one point I thought I was going to cry. I could have been sitting there in my underwear, and I wouldn’t have felt as exposed and vulnerable as I did in that moment. I had been writing blog posts for months, but this was different. I wasn’t hitting the “Publish” button from a remote location; I was face to face with a live audience, putting my words out there for instant judgement and critique.
It was hard. It was uncomfortable. But it was also liberating. I was finally owning my work, and I can’t tell you how validating it was.
Months passed, and I became more at ease. We started with small group assignments such as writing on a prompt, or bringing in a recent short story attempt or blog post to share. But now we’ve agreed to kick our efforts up a notch, and things are getting scary again. Gone are the days of writing exercises, and puff pieces. We’re not content to write only for ourselves anymore. We’re now writing stories and articles with our eye on the prize: publication.
Yikes, because as I’ve mentioned before, I know what that means: rejection. Of course, it might mean acceptance and publication. But it definitely means hearing “Thanks, but no thanks.” There’s no doubt about it; that’s going to happen. I got my first taste of rejection last year, when I submitted my work for the first time.
I hated being told no. I really wanted to hear yes. All too quickly, I started to fall into a bad pattern of “forgetting” to submit my work before a deadline.
That’s not what REALLY happened, though. The real story is obvious: As much as I wanted to hear “yes” — I even MORE didn’t want to hear no again. So, I stopped trying.
That’s not easy to admit.
But now I realize I have to get over myself — because (as usual) my biggest stumbling block has turned out to be ME.
I have a new plan to help me with that: I want to receive no less than forty-four rejections in 2014, one for each week left in the year.
You read that correctly. There’s no misprint there. I want to get at least 44 rejection letters — hopefully more. Yes, that will hurt. Yes, I’d rather get 44 letters of acceptance. (Who wouldn’t?) And yes, I’ll feel terrible. BUT, it will also be wonderful. Because 44 rejections will also mean I made 44 submissions, took 44 risks.
How wonderful will that be?
I’m ready for those rejection notices. They don’t seem as scary anymore.
They seem like freedom.