Several weeks ago, I had a "review" of one of my mss come back LOW, so low it made the limbo look pleasant. This is a ms I have been working on and revising for well over a year. My knowledgeable and respected critique group said it was submission-ready. But a 4 out of 10 ain't ready! Pain and doubt and discouragement seeped in. I almost cried. It's not every day one little opinion of one little person (or organization) cracks the tough skin of a writer. We are tough. We have to be so that the scratches won't hurt us. Apparently, on that day, that review was more than a scratch, it was a slashing gaping gash. After several minutes passed in agony, I remembered other critiques that ms had received prior. A 7 and an 8. My, I AM good, after all. The story has merit and quality. I'm not a loser writer and I CAN find a home for it one day. Must. Keep. Polishing. The pain of one bad critique is much like the pain of a bad knee after a run.
A couple weeks ago, I hurt my knee somehow. Felt fine during the run, but afterward? Not so much. I hobbled for a couple days, then decided to give it another go. Not smart. Made it worse. Actually hurt then. How do you rise up above that kind of pain? You take time off. You go slow. You baby it with ice and muscle rub and plain old simple walking. I'm almost above the storm clouds. I'm starting to see the silver lining. Does it hurt to stop what I love? Yes! Does it hurt worse knowing I have a 10k race coming up in two weeks? Yes! Will I rise above the pain? Yes! That means looking at the pain head-on. Acknowledging what needs to be done. Slowing down, if that's what it takes.
Will I rewrite my story? Maybe. Will I finish my race last? Maybe. But one thing's for sure, I am a writer who runs. And I will rise above the pain. I will make every story and every run the best that I can. And the next day I'll make it even better. I will take time off when necessary. I will fulfill my dreams. And so will you.
What pain have you had to rise above recently?
Keep on keepin' on...