One Step Forward

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.

One-step-at-a-time
Kitty has the right idea.  One step at a time.

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.

X7RiLS
This applies to life way more than it should.

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!

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Support each other like these puppies support this baby!

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.

Words For A Young Me

Hello, hello!  I didn’t really know what to write for today, so I asked around, and a friend suggested that I share some advice that I would give to a younger version of myself.  I think she meant like one of those open letter posts.  This isn’t really going to be that.  I don’t even know if this is technically advice, but I thought I would share some words.  I can guarantee that young me wouldn’t have listened to any of it, though.

Young Me (Color Correction)
Okay, super young me might’ve listened, but not teen me.

I suppose the first thing I would say is that you’ll be okay.  Life is fluid.  It’s always changing and it will shape you, eroding certain things away while building up others.  You will grow to be cynical and dark and quiet before you figure out that the world is generally good.  You will learn early on that life isn’t fair.  People will tell you that you can do anything.  A staircase to a second floor with no elevator will prove them wrong.  Most of the time, you’ll find a way around the obstacles presented to you or you’ll move on to something else.  You’ll take these experiences and find your reality within them.  You’ll find yourself.

A lot of the time, you won’t like who or what you are.  You won’t be able to change the things you want to, so you’ll accept them.  A morbid sense of humor will help with that.  At some point, you’ll even realize that a lot of the things you don’t like about yourself aren’t as bad as certain people make them out to be.  You do have feelings.  Your capacity for love and caring is greater than most people will ever know.  They will tell you differently.  You’ll even believe their words for a while.  But that will pass.  You’ll never be the kind of affectionate and sentimental person they wanted you to be, but that’s okay.  That’s not you.

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Most of my high school years were spent looking like a boy.

People will come and go as well.  The toxic people who drag you into the darkness won’t always be there.  Sometimes life will take them away and sometimes you’ll decide you’ve had enough.  Yes, you’ll be strong enough to tell people to go.  Even people you love will leave.  It’ll hurt, but you’ll be okay.

You will eventually surround yourself with people who have wildly different world views than you do.  You will care about them even when you disagree with them.  And most of the time, you’ll keep your opinions and beliefs to yourself so you can keep the calm.  Occasionally, you’ll pose a question to stir up debates among your friends when you’re bored.  Then, you’ll sit back and watch the chaos until you get bored again.  Mostly, though, you’ll try to keep things peaceful.

shawna50
Twenty-one was a lot longer ago than I realized.

Like I said, you’ll be okay.  You’ll be dark and cynical and quiet and loving and sarcastic and weird and so much more.  But most of all, you’ll like who you are.  You’ll still struggle with what you are on occasion, but everyone does.  You’re not alone.  Life, like the world, is generally pretty good.  So, even when it seems like you’ll never be happy again, remember that the good will always come back around eventually.