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Getting Back on the Horse

A few months ago I submitted a piece of writing to be considered for a guest post on another blog. I had been blogging for a total of five weeks and when I saw this opportunity I felt that it was the perfect launching pad toward a successful blogging career. I carefully crafted the piece making sure every word choice was perfect. I made my husband read it for errors. When he didn’t find any, I made him read it again until he found one. When he finished, I took one last look at it and submitted it.

For the next few days I caught myself daydreaming about my guest post. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends and family that I had landed my first guest post. I couldn’t wait to see how the guest post would increase the traffic to my blog.

About a week later I received an email from the blogger. From the preview screen on my phone I saw that the opening sentence began with the words “Thank you for submitting…” I didn’t need to keep reading. My gut told me what the rest of the email was going to say. Just to make sure, I opened the email and continued reading. It went something like this:

Thank you for submitting your work to be considered for a guest post on my blog. Unfortunately, it was not selected. I appreciate the effort you have put into this piece but it is just not quite the right fit for my blog. I encourage you to submit again the next time I put out a call for guest bloggers.

I don’t like to admit it but I immediately started to dislike this blogger. Two weeks before, I considered her a great writer and respected her work. Suddenly I considered her a writing snob and an elitist. I almost stopped following her on Twitter. I couldn’t stand to read her tweets. I blamed her for killing my dream. She became the reason my blog was not going viral.

I set the submission aside unable to bring myself to posting it. The piece that I had put so much effort into no longer seemed good enough even for my blog. I never wanted to read it again.

It took me a few days to post on my blog again. Self-doubt had taken over and I began to believe that this blogging thing wasn’t for me. All because of one lousy rejection letter.

Eventually I ended the pity party for myself. I began to write again. I no longer was sick to my stomach every time I saw a tweet from this blogger. I told myself that I would submit another post the next time she put out a call for guest writers.

Do you want to know a secret?

I haven’t submitted anymore guest posts. I want to; I really do. But every time I go to write one, I think about that first rejection letter. I remember how awful I felt. I tell myself that I don’t want to feel that way again.

But then I imagine the joy I will feel someday when someone accepts my writing. The excitement on my face as I tell my husband that I got it. The warm and fuzzy feeling in my heart knowing that someone read my writing and was touched by it.

I know that I have more rejection letters in my future. Likely, there will be more rejection letters than acceptance letters. But I think one solid acceptance letter is probably worth one hundred rejection letters. It might take weeks, or months, or possibly even years to get that letter but I think it will be worth it. But the only way to get a letter is to submit something. The only way to get more letters is to submit more. A person rarely throws a bullseye on the first try. So that means I need to keep writing.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, I eventually posted the rejected piece. It was one of my most popular posts that month.