I keep a folder on my PC desktop of rejection letters from publishers. Most of them are very nice. Whenever I read them, it reminds me a little of my college dating life. I was dumped a couple of times in a really benevolent way. You know you’re in trouble when you get the “you’re really great, and smart, and fun,”…and then comes the “but.” I also remember breaking up with a few people in the same manner with some really melodramatic niceties. No matter how gracious a rejection is, it is still a dismissal. There are a handful of refusals in that file from some reputable folks in the publishing industry. My rejection folder marks the end of many stories.
I also keep a folder on my desktop full of e-mails detailing the history of my first book, The Mockingbird Parables, with Tyndale House Publishers. Not many people know that the book was originally signed and dropped by a big publisher and for many months looked like it would never make it to a bookshelf. Tyndale swooped in at the last minute to save the day and rushed my project through to publication. There wasn’t time for the catalogue and all the other stuff that goes along with a well-planned book campaign;but,it was still published. I am grateful for Tyndale and it is a truly wonderful story that I should write down sometime and share with you. I also keep some other correspondence in that folder. I have received some letters and e-mails from readers (of the book or here at the blog) that explain to mehow something I said had a dramatic impact on their life or the way they approach their faith. I love those letters. This folder represents the beginning of many stories.
I look through these folders occasionally, not simply to derive motivation from the rejections or to feel good from the affirmations, but to remind myself that I have a choice to make.
We always have the choice.
I think everyone has the same set of folders on their proverbial “desktop”; they might not be organized like mine, but they are there. Each day, we are faced with numerous decisions about work, parenting, relationships, finances etc. Inside the framework and foundation of each choice we make, lies the greater decision of which “folder” we will allow to define our life. We will choose either the rejections or the encouragement; we will choose the hope or despair.
Each time I read through my affirmations and rejections about writing, I am reminded that one folder marks the end of a story. The other represents the possibility that the story will continue.
Each day I have to choose for the “writing” story to continue. I am also learning tolive out ofthe same folder in other areas of my life.
There is some power in realizing that no matter what, I always have the choice.