Can there ever be too much to say about rejection? I pulled a book of essays off my shelf this morning, The Writing Habit, by David Huddle. I bought this book back in 1991 and have held onto it ever since because of the gems between the covers. This morning I read the essay, "Let's Say You Wrote Badly," in which Huddle compares baseball with writing. I love baseball so I kept reading. He talks about how baseball players deal with rejection, how there is no baseball pitcher who has ever not given up a home run or a batter who has not struck out. I like this paragraph:
"And what more than failure--the strike out, the crucial home run given up, the manuscript criticized and rejected--is more likely to produce caution or timidity? An instinctive response to painful experience is to avoid the behavior that produced the pain. To function at the level of excellence required for survival, writers like athletes must go against instinct, must absorb their failures and become stronger, must endlessly repeat the behavior that produced the pain."
Why do I like this paragraph so much? Because that's how it is: We writers keep repeating the behavior that produced the pain and sometimes we hit a home run, but too often we strike out. But we keep playing, we stay in the game, because there's always the chance we'll score, and after all, we love playing.
There are so many other good essays in the book. Grab one from wherever you can.