Today, my "catching happiness" philosophy is being tested. Today I received a rejection for a personal essay I submitted to a local newspaper two months ago. Today, this piece that I love, that I worked hard on and revised and optimistically sent out into the world came back to me--with a form email telling me "it does not meet our needs at this time."
Sadly, rejection for writers in general, and for me in particular, is nothing new. It's a heartbreaking profession. My writer friends and I try to encourage each other, try to share any good news we get, and also try to find ways to gauge our "success" in ways other than pieces sold. I have a file folder full of completed manuscripts to remind myself that I am producing work, whether it sells or not, and that is better than producing nothing at all. Surprisingly, you can't become a better writer unless you write. I keep all my rejections in another folder. (And not because I plan to send anonymous hate mail to the rejecting editors. Really.)
So how will I soothe my ruffled ego and regain a positive attitude? Aside from initially questioning why on earth I think I can write anything, I'll remember that this is one piece rejected by one market. I'll remember that even though I've been writing for a long time, the personal essay format is new to me. I'm still learning. Eventually, I'll look at the rejected piece again, maybe revise it and find someplace else to send it. Because that's what you do when you pursue happiness. You don't sit around and wait for it to come to you.
But first I think I'll eat some chocolate.