There are only two answers

Ernst Stuckelberg "Sappho" 1897

This morning I got an email rejection.

I had been waiting for a response from this person for months. I felt that I had used their feedback to elevate the work. I knew it was good. And it was, just not good enough. And the pain is just acute enough to make me question the relevance of continuing on.

I’ve had a well-received work of fiction published, and several works of non-fiction. I’m not a bad writer, by any stretch of the imagination. But I have been watching writing friends of mine go on to better publishing deals, garner accolades, New York Times bestseller status, and scores of fans, while I sit at my desk struggling. For a while, I was a bit jealous. I knew that they had worked hard for what they got and I was happy for them, but their success made me feel worthless. And then this weekend, I just let go. It’s not their fault they’re better writers than me. It’s not even my fault that no one seems to want my work. It just is.

In letting go, I foolishly believed that I was opening myself up to better things, and that simply by dint of being all zen about it, that the good things would come. And if you know my life, you know that there has been no good news for a while, in fact there has been month after month, year, after year, of bad news both personally and professionally. And every time, I put on a brave face and look for the silver lining. It’s there. It’s always there. But can I live my life on silver linings?

My reward for letting go this weekend was finding a mug I thought I’d lost years ago. It’s a Paula Wiseman mug that has my name on it along with the names of several other authors published under her imprint the same year as ANGEL’S GRACE. Having had my heart broken by signs I thought I saw, I was determined not to take this as a sign this time. I was determined not to have hope. But evidently, some hope had seeped in that the news would be good.

And now that it’s not, there are only two answers: I will continue writing, or I will stop.


14 thoughts on “There are only two answers

  1. Michelle Reynoso says:

    Tracey…My heart goes out to you. We all feel battered at times, and this industry is good at giving a good beating, but please hang-on. Do not give up. Perhaps its not about continuing or giving up, but maybe its about finding a new direction, a new door that maybe isn’t as obvious.

    I am sending some positive vibes your way.

  2. Tracey says:

    Thanks Michelle. Your choice of words is apt. I feel totally battered. Thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate it very much! I hope things are going better for you than they are for me! 🙂

  3. Léna Roy says:

    She would definitely say to keep writing! But the publishing world is completely different today than it was back in her day, right? Still, keep writing anyway. Who are we NOT to write?

  4. Cassandra Parkin says:

    I just wanted to say I thought this was a beautiful post – honest and moving and true. I’m sure all of us have felt what you express so well.

    Please don’t stop writing.

  5. Sharon Burford says:

    The successful ones are the ones that stood up one more time after taking a beating that would have others crawling into a hole to hide for eternity. Nothing worth having comes easy. I know you feel awful right now but you ARE a writer….it is what you MUST do. I paint, you write. We all have our horrible days..but when the sun shines it is amazing. Believe in yourself Tracey, gather up your skirts and find YOUR voice. Soon the silver linings will become a pot of hard earned gold. HUGS

  6. plumwalk2 says:

    You are absolutely not allowed to stop. I am 61 years old and I know my writing is far better than many who have gotten book deals and other accolades. It is something inside you that you cannot deny. A true writer is one who cannot stop. I have a feeling that you are of that ilk also. We will continue together, like we fight for the highest quality education for our children together. Write on, honey. You are not alone.

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