We've all been there. Something much hoped for that didn't happen. Something that did but wasn't quite what we thought it would be. Expectations that haven't been met. Dreams that haven't been fulfilled.
For most of us with dreams of publication, the road we travel is paved with potholes. Sure, there are those occasional amazing writers who win their first ever contest, sign with the first agent they pitch to, and sell their first book to a great publisher. For us mere mortals, disappointing contest results are the norm, not the exception. When we finally get the nerve up to start pitching our stories, the agent rejections start piling up. When we sign with an agent (HOORAY!) we discover that isn't the magic key to the kingdom, and the rejections from editors start accumulating. No matter how gracious, kind, or downright positive they are, they still hurt.
When I first started writing a terrible contest score could cripple me for months, now they barely qualify for a consolatory bowl of ice-cream. However, making it all the way to an offer being in the mail, only for it to get pulled when the publisher decided to review their entire fiction line packed a mighty sucker-punch.
For me, there are three things that help me navigate the peaks and valleys of this road to publication journey:
Go offline: When you spend your day obsessively refreshing your email, hoping for that one you're waiting for to magically appear, it's easy to lose sight of what you do have. I've found that limiting the number of times a day I allow myself to check my email helps me to focus on living the life that's right in front of me, not obsessing over things I have no control over.
Trust in God's timing (and plan): That contract that didn't happen? I heard from my agent that an offer was on the way about two weeks after having a baby. While it was (very) disappointing when things didn't work out, the following months revealed that I also had a baby who thought that sleep came with an "optional" tag. With the benefit of hindsight, adding in a book contract into the mix right then would have been less than ideal. God knew that, I didn't. I don't know if God's plan for me includes ever being published (man, I hope it does!) but I do know that whether it does or doesn't, his plans for my life are always better than anything I can manage in my own strength.
Call in the troops: I have a group of five amazing writer friends who have talked me off the writing ledge more times than I can count. They are my biggest supporters, encouragers, shoulder to cry on-ers, in writing and in life. All of us have had bad news (a lot!) and great news and so know exactly what everyone else is going through. They are invaluable in helping me to get up, dust myself off, and try again.
Let's talk. How do you deal with disappointment in life?
Represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Inc. she loves to connect with people on Twitter @KaraIsaac and Facebook at Kara Isaac - Writer :)