Most of you know that I reward myself for getting words on the page by playing solitaire, spider solitaire and FreeCell. You also know, I procrastinate when the words aren’t coming by playing solitaire, spider solitaire and FreeCell. In the past, I played on game and if it didn’t work out, I’d play a new version of the same game. Recently, I’ve started hitting “Try Again” instead of “New Game.”
“Try Again” brings up the game I just lost. The challenge for me is to see if there is a different choice I can make that results in the game working out. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. When the “Try Again” is successful, two thoughts go through my head: “Yes, I did it!” and “Why was I so stupid before not to have seen how I should have played this?”
When I think about the evolution of my writing, I realize it is following the same path as my game playing. In the old days, a rejection meant I’d hide the piece away. Now, I examine every aspect of what I submitted. Was there a better way I could phrase something? Did I rush the story? Did I leave a word out? Should I leave words or paragraphs out? Almost every time, I revise and improve the piece. Often, the result, when I try to place it again is success. If it is rejected again, I repeat the process. Although some pieces are too weird or not quite complete enough for a publisher to want them, most eventually find a home. My reaction then is very simple: “Yes, I did it!”
If one is to survive as a writer, one’s skin must be toughened so that rejections become tools of learning rather than badges of shame. My heart can still be pierced, but I’m beginning to like the process enough to play less card games. What about you?