That hurt. The rejection – from others or from yourself. The feeling of not coming up to scratch. The frustration of thinking a piece was finished and instead, seeing so many holes in it, so many problems. Maybe it’s not even a viable project. And you’ve put so much time and energy and thought into it. Trying again feels impossible. You feel raw and vulnerable and incapable of doing anything good.
You are ok.
You are still a writer, with all the experience and skill you had before.
And more to the point, you matter as a person.
If you still want to write, write. If you don’t, give yourself space in your life for the other things you need.
You are burned out. You’ve been trying so hard.
The world has helped you forget that your life is bigger than writing.
And writing is bigger than publishing.
And publishing is bigger than worrying about being published.
It’s all flipped upside down for you.
Time to let it all fall back into place.
Remember what makes what you do special.
It is yours.
It isn’t about who else likes it. Or what they think you should do with it.
It isn’t about getting a publication credit or the status of being an author.
Yes, those are nice. Beyond nice. Ego-satisfying. Heart-quickening. Fun. Motivating. Really motivating. Helpful in reaching more people, sharing, maybe making a career.
But they are outside of yourself, temporary.
What doesn’t change is this:
Writing is in you, waiting only for the space to be released.
Writing is a way to test and stretch and play with your voice.
Your true writing is full of you. It is distinctive, it is yours.
It is not the product of anxieties about your literary world, or your place in it (even if that happens to be your subject).
Writing is connection. And the first connection is with yourself.
Connect with yourself.
Then, when you are ready, let your writing flow.
Lay aside the worries about agents and editors and the confusing sharp noise of critiques. Lay it aside and lick your wounds. Let them heal. The scars will make you stronger, reminding you of all you can withstand. And all you can stand with.
You can stand with the uncertainty (though it may not seem so). You can stand with the frustration (though it may not feel so). You can stand in the center of your life and recognize what writing truly means to you.
And in the place of that recognition, you can act.
When the time is right, you can deal with the market. You can shape or edit for your audience. But that is later. Much later.
Then let go.
It is all a fresh start.
And you are not alone.