I’ve been writing steadily for a couple months now, and I’m at the point where I’m thinking about submitting some of my work for publication. But I have to admit I’m scared out of my mind of the rejection I will receive once I start putting my work out there.
One of the things that motivated me to consider moving forward with serious intent was a conversation with my daughter. We were talking about how our family makes money, and she said that Daddy makes money by making videos (he’s a producer), and Mommy makes money by selling her stories. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that I hadn’t sold any of my stories yet. That I hadn’t even tried to sell any of my stories yet. I was too embarrassed by my fears.
Fear of Rejection
My fear of rejection stems from a tendency to derive my self-identity from my creative work. In my previous career as a motion graphics artist, I would identify with my work so closely that any critique of that work was perceived as a personal attack on myself. It became a particularly difficult problem in my last place of business. My boss’ critique of my work was much harsher than that of my coworkers, leaving me feeling vulnerable and insecure, and, as a result, destroying my self-confidence as a creative. Eventually, I quit that job, but the damage was done. It’s taken me several years to recover, and I believe now I’m strong enough to put myself out there again.
But this time it will be in a completely different industry. The question is, what difference will that make? I’m hoping that because this is a different creative capacity, it will be like starting off brand new and that the critiques and criticisms won’t affect me the same way. They won’t dig into the old wounds. I’m older with a much thicker skin, and I think I can handle things better.
Badge of Courage
So I think I’m about ready to start racking up those rejection slips. Each one, a badge of courage earned on the battlefield. As I collect them, I’ll know that they all mean that I tried to do something great and though I may have ‘failed’ in the commercial sense, I still succeeded in a personal achievement of getting out there and trying to make things happen.