I know it hurts. And you’d rather it didn’t. Someone else got published. You’re happy for them, sort of. You want to be happy for them, really. But you’d rather it had been you.
After all, haven’t you been working at it? Didn’t you get that MFA, attend the conferences, go to workshops, network with editors?
But it wasn’t you. Not this time.
It is hard when you don’t feel that magical anointing of the approval of publication. It feels like no one loves you as a writer. Not even you.
But someone does. Even if you don’t know it yet. Even if they don’t know it yet.
Don’t let them down. Believe in that audience, that reader. If your work isn’t in their hands yet, there is something you still need to do to be ready for what you create to connect deeply with them.
It doesn’t mean you’re not good at what you do. It doesn’t mean you haven’t done a lot of the right things up until now. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever be published.
It just means there’s something missing and it’s your job to find it.
Something missing does NOT mean that there is something missing in you. You have what it takes. You are determined. You are willing to question, to learn. You have real storytelling skills and you keep doing what you can to improve them. But there’s some connection missing. Something you can create, that you just haven’t created yet. Maybe it’s a confident strategy. Maybe it’s the courage to write something out-of-the-box. Maybe it’s just a boatload of patience and a more active network. Maybe it’s a mentor you truly respect.
Whatever it is, figure it out, and find it. Your job as a writer is to connect. Connect with the story, connect with yourself, connect with your reader. And if that connection isn’t happening yet, it doesn’t mean it won’t. It just means you’ve got more to learn before it does. And that’s one of the true gifts of the writing life – we get to keep learning.
So, go ahead, sigh. Stamp your feet. Tantrum if you want. Feel broken for a while. Admit to jealousy, if that feels true for you. And then, back to it. It’s time to connect.