Submitting, Marriage and Deli Sandwiches

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.



22 responses to “Submitting, Marriage and Deli Sandwiches

  1. I could be mistaken, but the moldy product was not of the cashier’s making.

  2. Happy Anniversary! Hope you have a wonderful day 🙂

    Knowing how to react without over-reacting is a skill I wish everyone had! It’s a biggie 🙂

    • LOL. I bought myself a bracelet during the youth gathering.

      Yep, P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E beads adorned my wrist as a reminder to take a deep breath before reacting to anything. Let alone over-reacting!

  3. Hey Cat:

    I continue to marvel at how you find ordinary circumstances in life and then relate them to the field of writing and contunously motivate writers like myself. The fact that yo are happily married after all these years and have 4 kids is a testament to you being a quality lady. Kudos on a great job at being a woman, mother, wife, and writer.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

    • Thanks. I can only hope my kids and DH agree with your assessment!

      I have fun pulling extraordinary from ordinary. I’m a firm believer that everything in life can teach us something if we just look and listen.

      ~ cat

  4. I don’t want to think of my manuscript as a moldy sandwich, no matter how many rejections I get. ^_^ And rejections are easier to take after time, but each one still stings a little bit.

  5. Hi Cat, and Happy Anniversary.

    It all boils down to “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and “It’s not always about you/me,” doesn’t it? Good advice.

  6. Happy Anniversary Cat! Hope all goes/went well with you and DH.

    Regarding rejections, sure we have to develop thick skins but that doesn’t mean we aren’t human under all of that psychological armor and the barbs (rejections) will still sting at times and sometimes they will downright hurt. We just have to the best we can with what we have when each rejection comes through and then muddle on to the next query or submission.



    • Thanks, Ardee-ann.

      You are right, of course. We are human and rejection always stings. We just need to be mindful that we are in control of how we choose to react to such events. And ultimately, it is our reaction that impacts the way we move forward.

      Life can be tough sometimes!

  7. Oh. Yeah! Happy anniversary!!

  8. Happy anniversary and thanks for the message in the moldy bread. You never know where you may find a writing moment.

    • Matt, at least I don’t see other things in my sandwiches! No Virgin Mary’s or anything like that. Just writing advice….

      Thanks for the warm wishes.

  9. Great post! And Happy Anniversary!! If it’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s to choose your battles. I also try to consider whether a situation is something I will remember 5 or 10 years down the road. If not, let it roll away. If so, maybe I need to pay closer attention.

    • Lisa,

      That’s great advice. If it will not impact me five years from now, it’s not worth five minutes of my time disputing it now. Words to live by.

  10. Happy Anniversary, Cat! It’s wonderful hearing about a couple who respects each other and their marriage enough to let the little things go. 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful day!

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