Rejected.

It finally happened.

I got rejected this week—twice!—for two different pieces, from two different markets. Honestly, until now I’ve been incredibly fortunate. The work I’ve been submitting traditionally has hit the right publishers at the right times and was accepted every time. Up until now, I’ve enjoyed a perfect run.

It was bound to happen, and to be honest I thought it would be upsetting when it did.

But I’m okay.

I thought I would take my first rejections personally. I thought I would judge myself harshly and feel rejected as a person. But I don’t. I’m still new to the publishing game, and it would be unfair to myself to expect perfection. Either the work I submitted was good, just not for those particular markets, or it sucked and I just didn’t see it.

That’s the important distinction. The work might have sucked. And if the work sucked, it doesn’t mean I suck. It means I have more to learn, and hundreds of thousands of practice hours ahead of me.

Everyone expects to be able to write right from the start, because we all know how to put words on paper. But to be able to write well, that’s the part that only comes with hard work. It comes with failing, and hating it, and starting over.

And now that I know it’s not the end of the world, I’m less afraid of the next time. It’s a little liberating, actually.

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