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Being a writer is a lonely profession. Most of your time is spent in front of your computer, alone, trying to spin words into worlds and fighting off those dreaded twin feelings of fraud and failure.

So when something good happens, even if it’s just a “small joy,” you learn to embrace it and use it to feed your writing soul.

Yesterday, my short story “Chinatown” came back from the first magazine I had submitted it to. It was rejected, but accompanied by a very nice note saying that the editor hoped it would find a home elsewhere.

So I do what we writers do and turned it around to the next place on my list.

They rejected it too, within hours. Not only that, but they included a personal note that I had forgotten to double space the manuscript. Gah.

I should be devastated. I mean, two rejections in less than twenty-four hours, and a stupid rookie mistake?

And yet I am strangely elated.

They actually looked at my story. They considered it, and I have proof.

It made me think of all those small joys we as writers experience, and how they can help light the way for us even when things seem bleak, if we let them.

For example:

  • The first time someone came up to me at a con and told me they absolutely loved one of my stories, and how excited they were to see me there.
  • Those moments when the story you’ve been fighting with suddenly clicks, and everything just falls into place.
  • Getting my author copy in the mail, and putting it up on my author shelf.
  • When someone tags me on Facebook as “the guy that writes that thing you are looking for.”
  • When Mark turns to me after finishing a beta read and says “I think that’s the best thing you’ve ever written.”
  • When I type those magical two words (even if it’s just in my head, because, who really ever includes them anymore? “The End.”

There are joys in writing, both large and small, but the small ones come more often, and they help sustain me until the next one arrives.

So thank you for the personal rejections. And I’ll try not to forget to double space my submissions again. ๐Ÿ˜›

To my writing friends, what are your small joys that carry you through?

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