I just got word that I didn’t qualify as even a finalist for a chapbook competition. It is hard to accept such news, but it is hardly news from a historical perspective. Writers will encounter obstacles to success and publication until the day there are no writers, or perhaps equally as chilling and unlikely, no readers.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson met with such hostility for his work that he quit trying to publish his writing for 10 years. We can all be grateful he didn’t stop writing.
Tennyson’s story mirrors every other writer’s. It’s rather ordinary to face feet-cutting opposition, not the work of Mount Olympus preventing Trojan spoils. But a proverbial “Dear John” letter can feel like the gods’ disfavor.
One of my boys’ favorite books is Charlotte’s Web. “Chin up,” she tells Wilbur when he finds out he’ll be eaten come Christmas. Find the joy in writing and even reading what you’ve written. Rejections can only take what you give them. And then Time will heal as it always does and you’ll be ready to submit something again somewhere. Just don’t stop writing in the meantime.