Monday morning did not start out well for me. I opened my email to discover a publisher’s rejection of a writing project close to my heart. As rejections go, it was a very nice one. The acquisitions editor pointed out some strengths of my manuscript and encouraged me to submit more work in the future. Still, it was a rejection. As a working writer, I should be used to them by now—but they’re never fun.
I limped through the day, feeling discouraged and in need of chocolate. Lots of it. And then lo and behold, that night another email arrived in my inbox with good news. “Missed Cue,” the short story I’d submitted to Malice Domestic for inclusion in their 2020 anthology, Murder Most Theatrical, had been accepted. This felt especially miraculous to me because: 1. I’ve never written fiction for adults; and 2. The last time I wrote a short story, “Woman in the Dugout,” I was in seventh grade. My fiction writing ideas always seem to arrive in novel form. I am especially grateful to my friend, middle grade fiction writer and columnist Beth Schmelzer, who encouraged me to try writing a story for the anthology and organized an online critique group to work on drafts of our stories. Our little group also included the wonderful middle grade writer, Cynthia Surrisi. It was such a positive experience to work with these delightful women. There is nothing quite like “finding your tribe” as a writer.
And as I reflect on my “bad day/good day” Monday, I think about what I’ve signed on for in this crazy roller coaster of a writing life. Putting our work out there inevitably means taking hits and getting rejections. And sometimes, the magic works, and we discover some good news in our inbox.
But what really matters is doing the work and committing ourselves to growing as writers. And the journey is so much sweeter when we offer one another the gift of constructive feedback, support, and encouragement.