Thursday, June 21, 2012

Paint Splattered Shoes and Rejection Letters

Currently Listening To: Carry On by Fun.

Rejection letters:  Every writer faces at least one. Almost all writers face dozens.  My writing friends have their stacks, and I have mine.  We've joked on having competitions of who can get more.  

The truth is, jokes aside, rejection sucks.  Getting that letter means all your hard work isn't enough for that agent/publisher.  But rejection letters toughen our skin, give us the right kind of calluses, and force us to look at our work and see what we can do better.  
My Mushrooms from Halloween
I have two pairs of paint splattered converse.  One pair, a light blue pair, is dotted with the paint I used to adorn three beautiful three dimensional mushrooms used for our Halloween event.  These came naturally.  I put in the work and was rewarded with shoes that are no longer what they were originally - however, the paint adds something fun to them.

My other pair of shoes are black converse splattered in blue paint.  Not real paint, mind you, but pain decal. That's right, these shoes were BOUGHT with a paint splatter design.  It required no work from my end to get these shoes to look the way they do.  The hardest part I had was entering in my billing information, as I ordered them online.

I love both pairs of shoes.  I wear my black/blue pain converse all the time (my light blue ones are old, so I wear them less).  
Yet when I think on these shoes, and when I look at them, only one pair reminds me of the work I've done. (The other ones remind me of Texas Roadhouse peanuts, as the first time I ever wore them I went there and got peanut shells all over them).

Purchased with Paint
Do you ever feel that way?   About the work I mean, not the peanuts.   Fashion forward comes with a lot of rips in jeans these days.  While this isn't as extreme as it used to be, there are still pairs of jeans sold with pre-made rips in them.  This adds a rugged look to your pants, but let's be honest...those pants you ripped a hole in the knee in while sliding in the grass to catch a rogue kick-ball are way more rugged in your mind.
You EARNED that rip in your jeans.  Just like I earned the pain splatters on my light blue converse.

Life is like that sometimes.  Like a black-eye.  You earned the right to wear a badge of honor.  You throw yourself into something with such passion and vigor, and while you end up with paint on your shoes or holes in your also walk away with  three painted mushrooms or the winning catch in a make-shift kickball game.

As a writer, I feel this way about my rejection letters.  I have a whole inbox file full of them.  They all say the same thing.  "No".

They are the rips in my jeans.  They are the paint on my shoes.  I haven't completed the project yet, and I haven't won the game.  Not yet.  Right now, the holes in the jeans of my publication journey mean that the game is not over yet.  But when it is, I'll hold my rejection letters like a trophy.  

They will be proof I was worth it to someone.  A stack of people said no, but one person saw something worthwhile and said yes.

The triumph of winning is only sweet when you know the bitterness of defeat.  If you've never lost - or never been rejected - you won't really know what it means to win.  You have to be willing to risk the defeat and the loss to get the prize.  In everything.  This isn't just about your "dream".  It's about life.  This is big.  It's about giving your all for something you believe in.

That's what I'm doing.  Every day of my life.  I'm risking it all in order to get the grandest prize.

Let's be honest...I'm not talking about publication.

1 Cor. 9:24


Daisy Carter said...

Excellent post! I love your shoe analogy and I LOVE the verse! Keep working toward your goal! You will win the race one day (both of them!)

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