Three Little Words

When I first started out as a Freelance Writer, I carefully kept track of my submissions on WritersMarket.com. I kept all of my folders organized and kept a steady stream of queries in the mailbox with the little flag up.

As responses came in, I’d be sure to make a notation on the tracker – accepted, rejected, follow-up, date submitted, date accepted, name of agent.

All of these things were done right, but there was one thing that I look back on and realize was done wrong. Really, really wrong.

I held onto all of my rejection letters. For a good year or two, I’d put all of my “thanks, but no thanks” letters from agents and publishers into an old briefcase that I stored in my closet.

So, every day, as I got ready for my office job in the morning and went to the closet to get my clothes, I’d look down and see that bag of rejection. My heart would sink.

Still have the day job. Still not a best-selling author. Still not where I want to be.

It took me a while, but eventually I realized that I had to ditch the bag if I wanted to get anywhere as a writer. It was poisoning my soul to see that bag at the start of every day.

Most of the papers were actually form letters or postcards sent by agents summarily dismissing my work with those three dreaded little words:

Not for us.

Sort of the polar opposite of the most famous three-little-words, “I love you.”

As long as I kept track of submissions online, there was no earthly reason to keep rejection letters indefinitely. So they didn’t like that piece. I would try a different agency at another time. I’d define my niche and study the market until I knew where to send the next submission.

Sometimes rejection can seep into your psyche without your realizing it. The best way to keep making progress toward your goal is to replace those three little negative words with ones that shore you up and restore your soul.

I’m here, child.

Call on me.

You are loved.

And take your mind off of the things that bring you down by doing things that bring you up.  Look at flowers. Pat the cat. Hug your kids.

Just three words, but they really pack a punch. And remember: God is good. All the time.

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