What’s NOT on My List

I’m currently awash in the rejections that are freely flowing my direction from literary agents.   I thought I was prepared for it.  I was steeling myself.  But yeah, it’s not awesome.  In fact, it feels pretty terrible, truth be told.  Worse than I expected.  But now that the initial wave of “thanks-but-no-thanks” letters have come and gone from my inbox (read: decisively DELETED), I’m ready to press on.  I’m still waiting to hear from a few agents but in the meantime, I need to focus my attention elsewhere.

In the midst of my most acute angsty-ness, I felt suddenly adrift.  What if this thing – this book – isn’t going to, well, be a thing?  What if I’m not going to be able to do this?  What if it’s not going to work out?  What then?  What should I do?  Do I keep writing?  Do I scrap it all in a big huff of self-pity?

A few new work projects / proposals have come my way in recent weeks and I’ve been unsure whether to pursue them or not.  I thought I was going to be putting my energy into getting the book published but maybe I should let that go and move on with these other things?

As I weighed my options, a few things floated to the surface but I felt mostly inert, probably because I was still wallowing, I mean bitter, I mean recovering.  I decided that I needed to make a list.  I needed to make a list of the things that are life-giving for me and then use the list to help me recalibrate my focus.  Here’s what I came up with…

My List

1. Writing.  Damn it, I still like to write!  I don’t think I could stop even if I tried at this point.

2. Reading

3. Theology & Thinking

4. Being with my people (this list is in no particular order, of course)

5. Organizing all the things

6. Creating // Making things

7. Strategic planning // helping other people accomplish goals

8. Walking & Rowing & Yoga (wonders never cease)

Missing from the List

This wasn’t an earth shattering list.  Not at all.  I already know this stuff.  But I did notice with some surprise the things that aren’t on the list.  Things that are not life-giving but I persist in choosing anyway.  I didn’t, say, include endless Facebook scrolling or trying to keep up on all the current events in the world.  I didn’t include binge watching Netflix or worrying about what other people think of me or my writing or my fill-in-the-blank.  Yet those are the things I gravitate towards when I’m feeling blah.

I’m sure I have many more rejections in my future (God help me) and feeling blah is just part of the process, I guess.  But I make things so much worse for myself when I choose the things that aren’t on my list over and above the things that are.  So I’m going to write out my list and put it in my desk next to the list I made last year with the names of people whose opinions of me actually matter.  I mean, hey, if there’s not going to be a contract from an agent in there, I might as well just keep filling it up with my lists, right?!