It’s been a busy week here, keeping the home fires burning while back to the business of piano teaching, beading and adding new items to my Etsy store, working on my novel, training for my next 5K, and reading when I’m too tired to do anything else. People sometimes ask me how I manage to do everything; the answer is I don’t. At least, I don’t do everything every day. But I try not to skip any one thing more than a day at a time. That way, I make steady progress in all areas. From day to day, it doesn’t seem like I accomplish very much. But it all adds up over time.
However, I’ve been in a bit of a funk where my fiction writing is concerned. The Unpublished Maggie Award of Excellence finalists were announced last week, and while I am happy for the winners, I am disappointed that my name was not among them. I still haven’t received my critiques; last year, they were so upsetting that I stopped writing altogether for a couple of months, and I really don’t want to lose the momentum I have going right now. So I am steeling myself with these words Denise gave me last night, from Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.
The Professional cannot take rejection personally because to do so reinforces Resistance. Editors are not the enemy. Critics are not the enemy. Resistance is the enemy. The battle is inside our own heads. We cannot let external criticism, even if it’s true, fortify our internal foe. That foe is strong enough already.
The Professional self validates. She is tough minded. In the face of indifference or adulation, she assesses her stuff coldly and objectively. Where it fell short, she’ll improve it. Where it triumphed, she’ll make it better still. She’ll work harder. She’ll be back tomorrow.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if I ever final in the Maggies, or even if I ever achieve my dream of being traditionally published. Ultimately, the only opinion that matters is mine. I just need to keep showing up and doing the work. And I’m not going to give up until I’ve written the best damned book I am capable of writing.
And then I’ll move on to the next one. Because I’m a writer. And that’s what writers do.