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Forging Ahead after Rejection
7/17/2018 8:12:00 PM by: Cindy Sproles

Photo courtesy morguefile.com & davidpwhelanWhen the seeds are planted, you never know what will sprout.

We made a tough decision – to take down a huge 40-foot elm tree damaged from lightening. It towered over our home and with each storm that passed, we wondered if the massive tree would find its way onto our roof. Cutting it down meant cutting away a boatload of beautiful memories with our boys. Pruning.

The remnant – an elm stump. We surrounded the stump with plants and a new birdfeeder lending the barren depression of the stump, some inklings of hope.

Summer chugged in, and we continued to fill our bird feeder and water the plants. Fledgling green shoots began to sprout below the bird feeder. I pulled the tiny plants trying to keep the mulch looking fresh, but to my dismay, the determined seeds that fell, continued to grow. I stepped away and let nature take its course. What could come of these tiny plants?

Corn-looking stalks grew chest-tall and as we watched it became increasingly noticeable our elm tree stump had taken on a new face. Green branches inched from the stump and stretched upward. An elm bush?

The irony of my writing life emerged. The seeds that fell beneath our bird feeder were much like the seeds of my own writing life. Some of the things I pen obviously grow into successes, but it’s those unexpected prunings that give me a sense of renewal. Within the rejection, the seeds of determination grow and the roots of honing the craft take hold.

Rejection after rejection can make you want to throw your hands up and scream. Though screaming might be a nice release, it doesn’t move you forward to publication. Neither does walking away in the face of disappointment.

The gift of writing is a passion planted deep within us. Though a few of our works may be plucked and tossed into the fire, the passion and determination of the craft continues to break through and grow. Discouragement, frustration, and rejection sometimes take precedence over our creativity, pushing it face-first into the ground. Still the seeds and love of writing take root in the dirt of discouragement . . . and grow, like the elm, new and strong.

When rejection and failure strike, don’t quit. Instead, dig in. Plant your writing roots, and grow. Here are five ways to help you forge ahead.

  • Mourn the rejection for a day then move on. Rejection is not the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new work.
  • Don’t quit – If you love writing, quitting is simply not an option. If, as a toddler, you quit standing and taking steps every time you fell – you’d have never learned to walk. Get up, dust your rump off, and write.
  • Learn the craft – Many times rejection happens when we have not quite made the next skill level, so learn. Practice. Study. Get better so the rejection letter passes over next go around. Writing is a craft that must be learned, not an entitlement.
  • Read, read, read – Spend time reading the genres and authors you love. Learn from those who are successful. New ideas, new styles, new creativity happens when you learn from the work of others.
  • Write daily – You’ve heard it thousands of times. “Just write.” Why? Because the continuance of writing does not allow failure to rule. We all fail at something, but it does not define us unless we give it permission to do so.

When you feel as though rejection is your future, forge ahead. Be an elm stump. When you’re cut to the core, sprout!

 

Photo courtesy morguefile.com & davidpwhelan

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Comments

Joyce McCullough From Tennessee At 7/18/2018 8:11:44 AM

Thanks, Cindy, for your inspiration and encouragement!

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

You're welcome. I'm glad this was helpful.

Cathy Mayfield From Duncannon, PA At 7/18/2018 7:32:42 AM

Oh, Cindy, this should be emailed to every writer to print and hang over their desk. I love the last line: "When you're cut to the core, sprout!" Of course, that speaks of more than just writing. I would love to see a photo of the elm stump as it is now! See you at Montrose! Blessings!

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

Awe, thanks. That makes me feel good.

Deb Haggerty From Plymouth, MA At 7/18/2018 7:05:39 AM

Beautiful, Cindy! I love the way you wrapped writing, rejection, and the oak into a powerful illustration!

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

Thank you. I hope it will be a source of encouragenent.

Mountain Breeze Writer


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