I spent last week checking things off my to-do list. The days were rainy and cold, so I put my head down and tried to work as much as possible. It wasn’t creative work, but it needed to be done. This kind of productivity usually buoys me, but the weather and the disappointments inherent in a writer’s life were working against me, and I felt myself slipping.
I always tell my writing students to keep going, to never give up. You must sit down at your desk and do your work. You write through the rejection and through the disappointment. And because this is the advice I dole out, I know I must follow it, as well. And I do. I show up. I sit down at my desk. I wrestle with my prose. I send my work out. I file away my rejection letters. But sometimes I feel so tired of it all.
Then yesterday morning, as Stella climbed into our bed and settled into my arms, our bedroom brightened with sunlight. Our walls began to glow, and for the first time in days, I felt hopeful. I dropped the girls at daycare and school and went to my book group, which never fails to lift my spirits, and then I went for a run along the river, iPod blaring. By the time I returned home, I was high on endorphins. Perhaps there will be something wonderful in my inbox?
There wasn’t something wonderful in my inbox. There was another rejection waiting for me when I logged in.
Sometimes it’s even harder to get a rejection when I’m feeling hopeful, when I’m buzzing on a post-run high. A few simple lines can destroy the results of my recent mood-enhancing activities. The sun was still shining, yes. But it didn’t even matter.
It’s another gorgeous day today. I’ll go for a run this morning, and later the girls and D and I will head over to our local Art-A-Whirl. I’ll “have fun!” and “Be cheerful!” Maybe I’ll even be able to stopping thinking about writing for a day.
And the good news is that it’s Saturday—I’ve never been rejected on a Saturday.