On the way home from New Orleans, we stopped at a gas station. I grabbed a turkey sandwich to appease my hunger. Before taking my first bite, I glanced down and realized the bun was moldy. It had expired a week previous.
When I returned it to the cashier, she was more than a little grumpy and acted as if I had offended her by asking for a refund. Even though I didn’t gripe or accuse, she took it personally. By the way she was acting, I’m sure it ruined her afternoon.
Today, DH and I celebrate 18 years of marriage. Over the course of the years, we have learned to let the little things go. We have learned to understand the situation and ferret out how it relates to us. In other words, we don’t take our spouse’s bad days personally and no longer get offended over things outside our control.
These two seemingly unrelated things–marriage and moldy deli sandwiches–reminded me of the submission process. As writers, it is our responsibility to put forth our best manuscript. However, acceptance or rejection by an agent is outside our control.
We must learn to gracefully accept our returned manuscripts and not waste valuable time and emotions by getting offended. Instead, we need to simply acknowledge that not all agents like moldy turkey on wheat. We need to understand that many variables outside the quality of our manuscripts actually impact the decision to accept or reject. We need to discontinue taking rejections (and even critiques) personally.
Only then can we gracefully remain in the writing biz for eighteen years and still enjoy the process. Only then can we wave off a moldy sandwich without causing a scene. And only then can we enjoy the ebb and flow of all that life–and writing–throws our way.