Monday, August 12, 2019

REJECTION AND THE WRITING LIFE—WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?





All writers suffer the same nemesis. Rejection! When a book goes to print, so often another manuscript returns with a note exalting your talents without the offer to publish. Or maybe like toast, rejection arrives dry with a perfunctory, “Thank you.” Whatever the case, writers must learn to endure stinking wounds of rejection with egos intact and pens still poised to write. How is this done? Jesus is an example.  

The Master Teacher suffered a barrage of rejection.  Friends left him in a lurch and despite the denial—He maintained determination. Jesus practiced 5 habits to overcome rejection. These same habits will fuel your writing when faced with naysayers. So, what did Jesus do? He practiced gratitude, silence, benevolence, forgiveness and tenacity.

Gratitude helps every writer WIN.  When publishing opportunities are few, focus on the goodness in your present tense. What is good about your life right now? Give thanks for that. Jesus consistently turned his focus up and out toward the horizon with a “Thank You, Father,” on his lips. Like King David, perhaps you should also play music. Raise the volume. Dance. Celebrate past victories and call them by name. Let gratitude’s joy rest on you. Then sit down and write.

When Jesus was rejected and needed the support of Infinite Wisdom, he went to the mountains alone. Sometimes, all you need is YOU. Help for faulty plotting or drab dialogue is not always a book on craft. Dedicate a part of each day to silence.  Go within yourself to perceive the Divine. In your solitude on a couch or favorite chair, you will hear God direct your words with precision and power. But first, you must still your mind and make room and time to listen.

Rejection can twist a writer into knots of self-loathing.  Therefore, like Jesus, it is essential to lavish care on others.  Don’t brood over rejected manuscripts.  Rise up to be a hearth for the hurting.  When you wrangle attention off yourself, sharing with others shines light through clouds of rejection. Benevolence is a healing balm and the big-hearted always reap a harvest.

Besides serving alms, Jesus said that as we forgive others, we are also forgiven. The greatest feat is learning to forgive yourself for wasted time, misguided choices, and unsuccessful writing.  Remind yourself each day that rejection and shoddy drafts pave the road to successful writing.  As a creative, you refine your craft while composing poor sentences and bad rhymes. Don’t choke on unforgiving sentiments toward yourself.  Your life is a WIP.  Stay the course.

Yes! FINISH YOUR MASTERPIECE.  Understand that the stories you are seeking to tell are also seeking you. Be tenacious. Remain steadfast—even when editors sneer and agents say, “You are not a good fit for my list.” You might feel wounded and weary just like Jesus, but don’t quit until you achieve the Heavenly Vision. Write ON!
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Alice Faye Duncan writes books for children and adults. Her devotional meditations will appear in Guideposts’ MORNINGS WITH JESUS (2020).  She is also the author of HELLO SUNSHINE—5 HABITS TO ‘UNCLOUD’ YOUR DAY and Memphis, Martin and the Mountaintop.  Please visit her website www.alicefayeduncan.com

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