When I first decided to venture into the world of writing for children, I had no idea what I was getting into. I thought it would be magical. The words would flow out of my head and onto the computer screen and in no time at all, I would have a published book. Well, almost three years later, I now know differently. There are certain things about writing and publishing that are magical, but they can also be frustrating, disappointing, and, at times, soul crushing.
You have a polished manuscript, and you start submitting to agents. Or maybe you already have an agent, and your manuscript is being sent to editors. Then you wait. Several months go by. If you’re lucky, you receive a rejection, so you know to move on. But more often than not, you hear crickets. Rejections are hard and the wait can be unbearable. So how can you stay positive and confident? By celebrating the small accomplishments.
Put a positive spin on those rejections.
Each rejection means you are one step closer to that yes. I use a Hundreds Chart (why yes, I used to be a teacher) to keep track of my rejections. Coloring in a square actually makes me feel better. It’s a visual representation of hard work and persistence and reminds me how much closer I’m getting. Other writers play Rejection Bingo. Or, use the rejection as an excuse to treat yourself to an ice cream sundae. Whatever you choose to do, rewarding yourself in some small way will lessen the sting.
Take time to look back at your earlier work.
When I look at my earliest manuscripts, I inwardly cringe. But it makes me appreciate how much I’ve improved. When I compare a manuscript I’ve revised and revised with its first draft, I feel accomplished. As writers, we are always striving to improve our craft. Taking the time to see how far you’ve come is worth recognizing.
Celebrate every word.
Completing a first draft or a round of revisions is certainly a cause for celebration. But don’t overlook those tiny moments. When you’ve added a sentence that has a powerful impact on your manuscript or you’ve found just the right word after its eluded you for days, applaud yourself. Don’t take each improvement you make for granted.
Celebrate the critiques.
Receiving a positive critique can help boost your confidence. Hold onto that feeling. Receiving a negative critique may not feel so great, but use it as fuel to push yourself forward. And recognize that every critique you give to other writers helps improve their work. That is a powerful feeling.
Embrace your tribe.
When I first started writing, I never could have imagined all the wonderful people I’d meet in the kidlit community. My critique groups, members of both SCBWI and 12x12, and fellow Clear Fork Publishing authors have become my support system. I value these friendships and am thankful for them every day. Reach out to other writers and keep those relationships close. They’ll make you feel less alone and lift you up when you’re down.
The path to publication is a long one. But each small accomplishment leads you further down that road. If you focus all your time and energy on the disappointments and rejections, you’ll miss all the successes along the way. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey.
About the Author:
Jenna lives in Connecticut with her husband, two crazy awesome kids, a cat named Pixie, and a dog named Ozzy. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Boston College and a Master’s in Education from the University of New England. Her first book, PIXIE’S ADVENTURE, was awarded two Honorable Mentions in the 2017 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. She recently traded in her librarian hat to become a full time writer. At all hours of the day (and night) she can be found at her desk, drinking iced coffee and working on her next story. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, Jenna LOVES to read! She also enjoys skiing and cheering for the best team in baseball, the Boston Red Sox.