The first day of February greeted me with a rejection. I’d been convinced the essay I submitted was the perfect match to the publication, but the editor found it “not right for us.” The bright side: the publication actually communicated their decision and the editor was encouraging, adding a note that she had enjoyed my story.
That rejection email turned out to be the highlight of February. It was a month filled with injuries, doctor appointments, cancelled appointments and missed networking events. It was also a month with lots of silence: unreturned emails from prospective—and even current—clients and unresponsive editors.
I’ve always known that the life of a writer can be rough, filled with rejections and struggles to get published. The life of a freelancer can also be rough, full of challenges to land new projects and the relentless need to continually market your skills. Usually, I can handle the negatives and buffer them with determination and the support of people in my life.
But not this last month. Despite family and friends encouraging me to rest and not worry, I’ve been preoccupied with fears of failure. I couldn’t seem to wrap my brain around the fact that things would change, even though I did need to give my body a break.
So welcome March and a new attitude. This is how I’m kicking doubt to the curb:
- Multiple submissions. I’ve already identified two possible publications that would be a fit for my recently rejected essay. With a little editing, I’ll be submitting that piece of creative non-fiction in no time.
- Putting myself out there. Even though I still have to stay off my feet for four more weeks (easier said than done), I’m going get myself in front of prospective clients. I’ll be punching up my letters of introduction and finding creative ways to introduce myself through social media.
- Breathing. And by breathing, I mean putting words to paper. When I make a point to schedule writing time, it refuels me and reminds me why I love it. This goes for both creative non-fiction and the work I do for clients.
- Asking for help. This is probably the hardest thing I’m doing to squelch doubt. I’ve always been independent (and proud of it). My ankle injuries have been a strong reminder that it’s okay to ask for assistance. The key is to remember that professionally, too. Writers and freelancers make for a very supportive community, ready with understanding and (if needed) advice.
- Guest blogging. I have some terrific writers lined up for guest posts here. Their experiences and advice are a nice shot in the arm to this blog as well as my attitude. The first one premieres Wednesday (March 3) so be sure you don’t miss it! I’m also penning pieces for other blogs, which is a perfect way to get outside my comfort zone. Stay tuned.
What about you? How do you handle moments of doubt? What about longer periods, when it seems like nothing is going to change? Has someone give you a great tip to kick doubt to the curb? Please share in the comments.