Putting yourself out there in any context means opening yourself up to disappointment and rejection. Unless you are a Buddhist, because I’ve heard they live without expectation and therefore without disappointment.
For the rest of us, disappointment will happen and we just have to prepare ourselves to make the best of it.
This week’s naming was one that disappointed me because I felt the writer treated my time as though it had no value. That sucked. And, even though I think my blog post on Monday sounded bitter, I actually haven’t thought about it much since I first received the reply from that writer. Instead, I’ve focused on those writers who were truly thankful for my assistance, and on the good job I feel I did in trying to help everyone who asked me for names.
In the end all you really have is your work, and if you did the best job you could do that has to be enough.
I try to remember that, and I hope you will too.
As writers, and especially for those of us who hope to be published novelists someday, we need to put our best on the page and to know that it is our best.
And then we need to rewrite it, and make it better.
And then we need to rewrite it again.
And probably another time, too.
And then if we get an agent we’ll need to take his or her advice and rewrite again. And then if we get a publisher we’ll need to take their editor’s advice and rewrite again. And then we’ll need to do almost everything the line editor tells us whether we like it or not.
As writers we have more opportunities than most people have to feel like what we’ve done—what we’ve written—isn’t good enough, and then we have to suck it up and rewrite and make it better.
Because, in the end, our writing will never be perfect. That’s not the goal.
Writing can only ever be the best you can make it right now, and that best is good enough.
I challenge you all to rewrite something today. Make it the best it can be right now, and know that you did a good job whether anyone ever reads it or not.