Friday, January 21, 2011

The Insidious Circle of Acceptance

Free-form Friday

When I originally shared the ideas in last week's post on the Great Chain of Rejection, one of my writing friends chided me for the negativity and asked for something positive.

My point in about the great chain is that rejection doesn't mean much because everybody in the industry--writers, agents, editors, publishers--gets rejected by somebody else. So now let me turn to the other side of the coin: why acceptance doesn't mean that much either.

Clearly, having your writing accepted means that someone else thinks you've done something worthwhile. And at a practical level it means a chance to get a return on the investment you made in your first project and another turn at bat for your next project.

But it doesn't mean that you've been magically transformed from a peasant scribbler into a princely author.

The Romans would post some one next to the conquering hero to remind them they were mortals and not gods as they paraded past the adoring crowds. We probably need someone like that when acceptance and success come, particularly if they come too easily.

The fact of the matter is that acceptance is nearly as subjective as rejection. Consider how may bestsellers of yesteryear lie now forgotten on dusty library shelves and dark corners of used bookstores.

So, given that I'd tried to find the positive in the negative of rejection, I couldn't resist trying to find the negative in the positive of acceptance. That said, I think there's a deeper, even-keeled truth: rejection or acceptance, what really matters is that we keep writing deliberately and consistently, unperturbed by the crests and troughs of the waves of life.

Image: Photography by BJWOK /

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