Howdy, howdy! Yesterday, after numerous rejections from agents (all of which were form rejections or close to it), I received my first full manuscript request. I won’t say from where or who, because I understand that this is by no means an offer of representation, but it’s one step closer and that makes me super excited. Even if I end up with a rejection at the end of this, at least I can say someone who is a complete stranger to me was interested in my work, which is a huge deal since I always wonder if people are only supportive of me because I’m cripple (it’s happened before). Anyway, I’m getting off track. Today, I want to talk about how the little steps are just as exciting and deserving of celebration as the ultimate goal you’re working towards.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I honestly needed a reminder of it myself: the little successes are still successes. I admit that I’ve been down lately with all of the rejections. I let the feelings of being a failure and an imposter get to me. It’s made writing hard and submitting things less than appealing. I forgot that submitting things and writing words were little steps on the writing journey in their own right, whether they end well or not. With all of the rejection writers (and artists of all kinds) face on a daily basis, we have to remember to celebrate the little things as well as the endgame.
Did you finish that short story or chapter today? Treat yourself! Is that your tenth (or hundredth) form rejection? Take pride in the fact that you submitted that many times. Did you get a lovely personal rejection? That deserves a toast! Without all of these little steps, some of which feel more like stumbles, we wouldn’t be moving forward. And as long as we’re pushing on, we’re trying, and that’s all that matters.
Sometimes, we go so far down the rabbit hole of imposter syndrome that we need a hand getting back to a point where we can see the little steps. This boost could come as a surprise acceptance or a request for more, but more often than not, it comes from the support of people in the same situation. We aren’t alone in these feelings. If you can’t celebrate your own steps forward, help someone else to celebrate theirs. Most of the time, it’s easier to notice other people’s achievements, so you’ll cheer them on and tell them that rejection is just one step closer to an acceptance, then eventually you’ll realize these are the things you should also be celebrating for yourself. Help each other and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Celebrate your successes together!
So yeah, even though it’s easy to get distracted by the big endgame, don’t forget the little things that get you there. It might take longer than you want, but if you stop trying, you’ll definitely never get to where you want to end up. Keep moving forward. Keep supporting each other. But most importantly, keep celebrating all the little steps as well as the leaps and bounds.