Writing is my life. It has been my dream since I was eight years old, and freelance writing has been my "day job" for the past two and a half years. The cycle of submissions and rejections is part of my everyday life.
For the past thirteen years depression has also been a part of my everyday life. It weighs heavy on my chest and fills my brain with a dense fog, attempting to kill my dreams. It is particularly active when I try to write about the depression itself. Even now I am tempted to stop, to curl up in a ball and sleep instead of finishing this article.
But if there is anything I know, it is that stories are powerful, so I endeavor to tell mine, no matter how difficult it is or how worthless it seems at the time. And I want to help you tell yours, so here are a few tricks to keep submitting when you're struggling:
1) Find supportive beta readers and critique partners
Yes, beta readers and critique partners exist largely to tell you what's wrong with your work, but they also have a duty to tell you what they love about the work. A good beta reader or critique partner believes in your work and exists to help you push it forward.
I've found an incredibly supportive group of beta readers through Twitter, and I cannot express enough how much every single compliment from one of them boosts my confidence. As fellow writers, they also understand the emotional struggle of submission and rejection, allowing us to commiserate when the inevitable rejections arrive.
2) Celebrate every submission
Submitting your work requires an enormous amount of courage, especially if you're struggling with depression. Celebrate every time you submit something, even if your celebration is only a simple pat on the back. The bigger the submission, the bigger the celebration should be.
This can eventually get ridiculous when you have several articles or stories doing the magazine submission rounds, but your first few submissions are massive accomplishments, even if they end in rejection. Treat them that way.
3) Take extra time for self care after rejection
The first thing you should do when you receive a rejection is submit your work elsewhere. The second thing you should do is step away from your computer and participate in your favorite self care activity. Meditate. Draw up a hot bath. Read. The specific activity isn't as important as the fact that you're taking time for yourself.
Rejection is part of the gig. It happens to all of us, some more often than others. If we want to survive it, we need to spend extra time and energy caring for ourselves.
No matter how difficult it gets, the important thing is to remember that your stories have power and to keep putting them out there. There are thousands of magazines and hundreds of book publishers out there. Sooner or later you will find someone willing to champion your work.
Dianna Gunn is a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. She is dedicated to bringing dreams to life, for her clients, herself, and her characters. Her first YA fantasy novella is set to release in spring 2017. She blogs about books, creativity and life at http://www.thedabbler.ca