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  • Writer's pictureJudy

July 7, 2024: Rejections and Fan Mail

Life is a series of ups and downs. We can’t truly appreciate the joy without the sorrow.  Failure means you are trying. 


         There are so many quotes and tips about handling and dealing with the inevitable highs and lows that are part of life.



         While these apply to all of us, I think that the life of a writer has some built in reminders of these opposites, and just this week, I received both. A rejection from an agent on my latest manuscript, and a set of letters from a group of 4th graders who had read one of my published books in their class and wanted to tell me how much they loved it.


         And both were saved in the appropriate files.



         When I do author presentations to young writers, I often share the fact that when I was submitting my first book to publishers, I lost count of how many rejections I received. While I did not count them, I did save them all. They occupy a huge file in my file cabinet.


         “Why would you save them?” one student asked me.


         “As a reminder that rejections are part of the process.  Part of the journey, but not the only part,” I reply. And then I also share that I save fan mail and letters I receive from those who have enjoyed my books.


         I think it is important to keep close by, evidence of both our successes and our failures.  We are not “winners” or “losers”, but an interesting mix of both winning and losing moments.


         While I was specifically thinking about my work as a writer this week, it easily applies to my work as a teacher, or as a college professor.  It can also easily be applied to my hobbies of cooking or gardening. There will be wins.  There will be losses.


         The key is to not lose sight of the fact that there will be both, and then learn from both. What lessons can the failures bring?  What can I learn from the successes?


         That is the true balance in life.

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