Those are the days when you open your computer and find three or four rejections. Those are the days someone in your family calls and tells you that you are a dreamer, a bum, who writes instead of works. Those are the days you stay home because you have no gas money. You want to crawl into bed and put the covers over your head. You feel like a complete failure.
Then a sliver of light penetrates your dejection. An editor reaches out, not with an acceptance, but with encouragement and a willingness to push you and your writing forward. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of editors who send rejections, but once in a while, they say "I like it" or they make a "suggestion for improvement," as they reject you. Usually their encouragement signals future publications if you wear the "don't quit" sign on top of your forehead.
Let me tell you this, when editors welcome a new writer, they are also taking a risk. They are putting their journals and presses on the line for you. That's why acceptances don't come easily. But then again, the greatest things in life don't come easily, do they?
If you have been sitting in front of your computer or your yellow writing pad wondering why you have chosen this life, let me encourage you to move forward. By all means, do what it takes to survive. Get a temporary part-time job if you have to, but always come back to your writing.
My biggest advice to you as a writer, or to anyone with a burning goal, is this: Do Not Get Distracted. In other words, Never Take Your Eyes Off Your Target. I know this is a cliché, but you would be surprised how something as innocent as a new relationship, a new bad habit, a loathsome job, or an expensive vacation on credit cards will take you away from your goal for a long time. You've got to keep hitting "submit" instead.
Listen to me, I was awake many a night telling myself to quit. I had every reason to hit the delete button. Now I am about to have my first novel published. It took two years to find a publisher but I kept hitting the "submit" button instead of the "delete" button.
When you slam up against your wall, break through it. That goes for anything you are getting close to. The wall is the time when you feel you cannot go on anymore. It is the time when you feel your goal makes no sense anymore and you are thinking about giving up. You'll know what I mean when you get there. You're not the only one who hits the wall. Great athletes, politicians, people in rehab, salespeople, teachers, people on diets; you name it, they hit it, and a lot of them quit.
Don't worry. The wall is signaling that your goal is around the corner. It is your last hurdle to jump, but it is also the highest one. Kick it down and jump. Hold your nose and fly through the air. You are on your way to victory.
Good luck making things happen. Everything you want is waiting for you. Trust the process and trust yourself. Out of this trust, comes your greatest triumph. You've got to move towards your goal, no matter what else happens in your life. This is the only formula for success I know of and it works.
Have you ever hit "the wall" and how did you get over it?
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