Today I was deep in my feelings of failure. I’d received another rejection– a very nice one, one that told me how much the editor liked my story and it invited me to submit again to their anthologies.
As soon as I saw the email, I thought to myself: Great, another rejection. I hadn’t even read it yet.
My inner critic came up and attacked me. It’s not an editor– an editor improves your work. The Inner Critic trashes your work and your soul. “Great, I’m still almost good enough. Not there, never there, but almost good enough.”
It was enough to make me cry.
Last week, I showed a very personal short story that I had experimented with to some beta readers. Ok, only one of them was really one of my normal Beta readers. Mostly, while they enjoyed the story, it confounded them. It almost made sense. I haven’t read the notes my regular beta reader sent me, but I think I will soon. She reads as an editor, not a critic. My other, who actually HAS edited my work, hasn’t read it yet. It’s out of my wheel house.
No dragons, witches or even an AI or space ship. No elves. Just something this side of way too real. I wrote it for one class, rewrote it for another and… people didn’t get it. I completely ignored the feedback from a classmate whose writing and crits I highly admire, though. The one that said I had spot on characterization, and the details of being cold were right as well.
The class that starts on Monday I’ve been looking forward to. It’s on writing linked short stories. I have read the course page backwards and forwards, and it didn’t say anything about the stories we write having to be in the literary vein– i.e. no fantasy, sci fi, speculative fiction. Can I catch a break? The last “normal” story I wrote confounded people.
So I did what any good, self respecting sulking writer does. I called my sister. She’s been a second mother to me all my life, and we’ve gotten a lot closer in the last few years. We talk Monday through Friday. And she told me what I needed to hear.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
You’re not almost good enough.
You’re almost there.