When you’re reading for critique, or being critiqued, you’re supposed to focus on the text. It’s about the story, not you. When a publication decides it doesn’t want what you offered, it’s about the story, not you.
This whole idea of keeping your distance just seems like a necessary defense mechanism. Every story you write leaves a piece of you on the page. Readers know. Just look at how many people get excited about meeting their favorite authors. When you’ve poured your heart into something, and someone doesn’t like it, it feels like they are criticizing a piece of you. As noted in The Writer’s Book of Hope:
To working writers, rejection is like stings to a beekeeper: a painful but necessary part of their vocation. They understand that the return of their work isn’t meant as a personal rebuff (or seldom is, anyway). It just feels that way. If we put ourselves into our written words, as we should, it’s hard not to take the rejection of those words as a slap in the face from someone whom we’ve just tried to kiss.
Exactly. It only feels like they’re rejecting you personally. You’re not the same person who wrote that. You’re not even the same person who started reading this post (although the difference is very slight).
So when you get that thin envelope addressed to you in your own handwriting, it’s okay. It’s not about you.
One thought on “A note to my future self”
Seems kind of unfair that your past self can send notes to you, but you can’t return the favor.
My past self would be gettin’ an earful. Eyeful. Whatever. “How come you didn’t buy Dell Computer stock at the beginning of the 90s?”
*You see Emu penning a note to past self… Hey dude! Go see the movie ‘The Lake House’… and don’t go see ‘Lady in the Water.’ Yours Sincerely, Emu The Elder.”
HELP ME! I’m stuck in Jack Finney’s universe! OMG! Next stop: The Twilight Zone!
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