The Magic

All of last year, I planned for November: NaNoWriMo.  I was ready to go on Halloween, itching to start the writing process.  Then, I got sick.  Then, I broke my finger.  Then, nothing got accomplished.

This was followed by Christmastime, which was busy even with a pandemic, and also, I had a brace on my pinky until New Year’s.  So, it is only now that I am sitting down to rekindle my love affair with words.

The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that you can go on the website each time you write and update your word count.  It keeps me on track very nicely…accountably is key during a first draft, in my opinion.  I could still use the site for this, but I choose not to, because I write in MS Word and there’s a little tally right in the bottom left corner of how I’m doing.  And the truth of the matter is that this book is NOT the little guy I wrote in 2019.  I am over 11k right now, and I have only just started chapter 4 of what appears to be 20, so we’re looking at an easy 60k on the rough draft.  I only easily wrote about 48k on the last book, and then pulled a couple thousand more out of the air in the second go-over.  Your average literary fiction book is around 70k.  I think that’s where this will fall.

Since it has no title, I refer to it either as my WIP (work in progress,) or The Ten.  See, it started out in my brain in 2002 with ten characters who would band together and topple a dictatorship by staging a coup.  In 2016, I started to see striking comparisons to my book and reality of the United States, so I abandoned it because I wanted to be neither plagiarizer nor prophet.  Of course, last week, I was watching the news and a dark laughter bubbled out of me as I thought “Didn’t I write this before?”

Anyway, I trashed the plot, but I kept the characters.  I knew them so well, as well as I know myself, and when you’re a writer and you’ve got something so well-developed, you’ve got to save it for something good.

About a year ago, I decided The Ten would be my next big project.  There’s a lot of thinking involved in writing, so I spent several months contemplating new plots and situations I could put the characters I had into.  Eventually, I came up with a scaled down version of the original plot, something made-up and workable and not happening in real time on CNN.  Then, I started the prep work: outlines, character bios, act breakdowns, chapter breakdowns, scene breakdowns, etc.  And research research research: many thanks and good wishes to the Twitter folks who have helped me out with descriptions of the Bahamas or explaining to me how long it would take to row to an island 30 miles away, and why you wouldn’t be able to see that island because of the curvature of the Earth (things I learned yesterday.)  Also, I know more about guns now than I ever intended.  It was a year of research and thinking and planning.

Now is the year of writing.

I was afraid that there would be big gaps in my writing, that I wouldn’t be able to sit down every day and do it the way I did during NaNo ‘19.  Turns out, once I started, I couldn’t stop.  I want to know what happens as much as a reader, and I’m only going to find out if I write it…if that makes sense.  Because all the planning in the world doesn’t prepare you for the magic.

The magic is when you are writing and you are no longer in the room with yourself, as Stephen would say.  It’s when you can’t believe that you wrote the words you’re reading back.  It’s the little character details that you didn’t know you knew, or the tiny ways you describe the sunlight.  It’s the part of the writing that surprises the writer, and it’s the best part…seriously.  It’s like a drug-powerful and addictive and makes you feel like you can do anything. 

So, I will finish this blog and I will go read some submissions, and rest my finger, so I can drop another thousand words into the WIP later.  I don’t have the accountability mechanism that I had before, but I will of course use my blog as a vehicle to hold myself up to my standards, as I have done in the past.

And perhaps, even to catch the magic.

(Un)Requited

There’s a stack of papers next to me.  I just printed them off my dad’s computer, and brought them home to my little office to be sorted.  They are poems, and they will soon be a book.

I wrote about my decision to pen another chapbook a little while ago, and I am now in the sorting and final editing stage.  Poems are good to go, in my opinion, and now I just have to check for the rouge commas and such.  I also have to decide how to order them, which is an art of its own.

The thing about chapbooks is that they are small and focused.  In A Lovely Wreckage, I started out with Sick Since Sixteen, a poem about my illness that signifies the age in which my journey started.  I closed it with a poem called A Good Day, which was, conveniently, about the good days I get to experience made all the better by the bad ones.  It was a hopeful note to end the collection on.  In between, I sorted the poems so that they were evenly dispersed-in that I made sure that not too many mental health or physical health poems were grouped together, and I also tried to make it have a rhythm and flow.  Now, today, I shall be doing this for my third little baby.

My second chapbook, a mini-chap, is called Me and Jesus on a Tuesday Afternoon and will be out sometime in 2021.  That one is essentially just one long poem, so I didn’t get to do the sorting phase for that.  I realize now that is something I enjoy, putting my poems in the order I want the reader to experience them. 

Over the summer I did a mockup on PowerPoint of my illustrated kids’ book (I’m sure there’s better software to do this on, I’m just a noob.) I am unable to work on it at the moment, but am hoping to get it off the ground sometime in the new year.  However, while assembling this little presentation I realized how much I enjoy seeing creations come together.  I always have…but I’ve never really applied that to my writing.  When I worked in theater, I was always amazed at the magic that happened on opening night, but I have neglected it amongst my words.  So today, that is what I am focused on.

I’ve had a couple of people (total strangers, mind you,) comment that they enjoyed the flow of A Lovely Wreckage, and I hope I can capture that in (Un)Requited.

Yep, that there’s the name. 

I wrote the final poem yesterday.  I have known which will be first, Monster, first published at Pink Plastic House, A Tiny Journal in May 2020.  And last night, I penned the last, Scrapbooks.  Now it is time to figure out the in-between.

Then, comes the publisher hunt.  I don’t know what to do there…do I send it to my previous publisher first?  What if I’d like to try someone new, or a place I think is more suited to the subject matter?  What’s the plan of action here?

Stay turned for the answers to these and more questions, on an upcoming episode of Brigid’s blog.

Happy Monday.

NaNoWriMo, 2020

I am still down a digit, but I persevere.  Typing remains difficult, but I can’t not do it.  I tried.  My brain overloaded and spilled out my fingertips anyway, all nine working ones.

After about twenty minutes of typing, my hand gets tired.  So, this will be short.  This will also be my second and last NaNo update.

It broke my little writer-heart when I broke my little writer-pinky, just a week into the month I had been looking forward to all year.  I had already spent the first week sick as a dog, and I was not pleased about the circumstances that led to a splint on my little finger for the remainder of the month.

I topped out around 5k words on NaNo, 45k short to win.  I knew I wouldn’t win as soon as my doctor looked at my finger and said “ouch.”  The dream died in that moment.

I was feeling very ambitious on October 31st.  I was raring to go, all my prep work done and my fingers itching to begin the typing process.  But sickness.  Then injury.  Then nothing for two weeks.  Two weeks where I could barely even click a mouse because it irritated my hand, let alone type.  Two weeks of no writing, in a time that was not the dreaded writer’s block.  The ideas were flowing, but where to put them?  Little dictated notes here and there, pecking things out on my phone with my thumbs.  Fleeting thoughts trapped, yet not expanded upon.

I am almost done with chapter 2 of my novel.  I started typing again the other night, and even as I write this I am a little mad I am using my strength on the blog today instead of the book.   I am WAY behind schedule…so I tore up the schedule.  Instead, I will hack away at this lump of rock until my sculpture appears, no matter how long it takes.

I’ll tell you a secret.

I love The Second Before, the little novel I wrote last year.  I don’t know if it will go anywhere though.  The outlook on my current WIP is different.  If I can write it, I can sell it.  I know that, deep down like I know anything.  This faith pushes me to work harder on it.  I already have put in more time than I did on TSB, and it’s much more epic than that little piece.  It will be good, should I manage to get it out of my head.

Anyway, NaNoWriMo 2020 was a wash, which isn’t that surprising given the course of the year thus far.  Maybe next year I will try again, if another idea presents itself, but it is much more likely I will just take my 2019 win and go, and write this novel that has been taking up space in my brain for so many years.  I think that will be 2021’s project, and it will take more than a month, but it will be so worth it in the end.

A Foot in a Door

Recently, I had some good news, but I was reluctant to share without getting my feet wet, first. 

A while back, I answered an ad on Submittable.  For the new reader, Submittable is a website most literary journals use to organize their submissions, so it is where I am often found sending stuff out.  Anyway, the ad was for a social media management intern.  They needed someone to run their socials.  I, with no job and a strong desire to break into publishing in any way necessary, thought I could handle such a thing and wrote them a letter.  I have no real writing resume, and no expertise as a social media manager, so I didn’t hold great hope, so when my application rolled to “in-progress,” I was surprised.

After a while, I got a reply, saying thanks but no thanks on the media manager position.  But then, the second line…would I be interested in being a reader?

Another internship-style position, but a better one, in my opinion.  More hands on.  More into the actual reading and writing and approval of what gets published.  Would I be interested?  Damn straight.

And so, for the past month or so, I have been a fiction and poetry reader for Ember Chasm Review.

I remember sending my first rejection.

I was sad.  It was good poetry.  It just didn’t fit the brand, so it had to be rejected.  And I, as newly crowned queen of the slush pile, had to do it.  I sent a little silent apology to the author.  I’ve received so many rejections, and honestly, I don’t care that much; I’m not the sort that keeps track.  But I know some people out there do, and every time I hit the rejection button, I feel a little sad for them.

Oh, but when I get to set something as “in-progress!”

When I get a well-written, interesting piece that matches the brand, that is exciting!  I cheer for the individual, and hope they make it through the next round, even though I know many do not.  Still, how wonderful it is, I know, to see your submission roll over to “in-progress.”  As I write this, I have several poems in this stage, and five mags looking at my short RBG piece…I know someone is going to want something. 

I know it.

Next up is a Halloween contest held by Button Eye Review, an imprint of Ember Chasm that focuses on horror and the like.  I will be judging it with one of the editors, and I am very excited as I love horror…it was the genre that made me fall in love with reading.

I was waiting to share this lovely news until I was on the website, which I should be in a couple days, but as I needed something to write about today and I have next week’s topics all planned out, I figured I would announce this cool development today.

I am so excited to be involved with this review.  They have awesome things planned, and the issues they have put out so far are great.  I invite you to check out their site HERE.

Now, off to finish some prep work.

3 days until NaNo.

Nothing

What shall I blog about today?

The obvious choice is the election, until I looked at my calendar and realized I will be blogging about that next Monday.  Then I thought about writing about writing, of course.  But I recently wrote about Preptober and my future poetry path.  So, I figured I could write more specifically about NaNo, but then looked at the calendar again and realized I’m starting my weekly updates on that next Thursday, anyway.

I scrolled Twitter for a while, hoping to find an interesting question or topic.  Unfortunately, today is a PitMad event.  This is a complicated thing to explain but the basis is that you pitch your book via tweet to editors and agents.  So, my feed is clogged up with book ideas…some are great, but there’s not a lot of varying topics.

I could write about my weekend.  On Saturday, I took L fishing, and it was the first time we really hung out one-on-one.  At first, he seemed bored, but once we found some fish hiding under the dock, he got into it.  On the way home I mentioned an action scene in my novel that I am planning, and having some trouble with.  We spent the next hour or so discussing weapons, stealth tactics, armor, etc.  It was good bonding time, and it thrills me whenever the kiddos take an interest in my work.

On Sunday I woke, sick.  Off to the ER.  I don’t remember much…it’s all foggy.  I know that the intake nurse said “Hey, I heard you are an author” and I said “Yes I am!” and then threw up.  I don’t know how she knew that.

Bernie picked me up after a few hours and was told to take me home but then I found out that my people were all at my mom’s house: parents, husband, Kev, Sharon, and L.  So, I demanded she take me there.  She bought me a smoothie from McDonalds that I drank while everyone else ate chili, and then drove me home.  I think I may have dozed off at the table.

Today I feel good.  Healthy and happy and doing fine.  Except for I don’t know what to write about.

They say when you are in such a predicament, that you should write about exactly the dilemma: that you are stuck, or wordless.  This was my attempt to do that.  I don’t know that anything really came of it.  I do know that after today I am booked up on blog topics for the next couple of weeks, so that’s a satisfying feeling.  This?  This is just filler.

And as always, Happy Monday.

The Next Verse

So, as you may know, earlier this year I released a chapbook of poetry regarding chronic and mental illness.  I like chapbooks, because usually they revolve around a topic of some sort, and I like poetry that speaks to a certain thing.  They’re smaller than your regular collection, but if you’re looking for a certain area to read about, you can find it easier.  A friend asked about a month or so ago what was the next for me on the poetry front, and I said I was composing a chap of love poems.  Not the usual “shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” sort, mind you.  I don’t write like that. 

This book will actually be about love that is obsessed over, brutally mismanaged, and often unrequited. 

Then the other day, I was sitting on the couch watching the news and Hubs was playing his phone game, and I thought gee…maybe your husband might not like it if you publish a book of poetry about other dudes.  Maybe he will feel threatened, or jealous, or betrayed somehow.  “Babe, how would you feel if I published a chapbook about other men?”

“I honestly do not care.”  He didn’t even look up from his game.

After he won his round, he looked up and went on to say that he felt himself to be the winner in the situation and as such was not worried.  He didn’t really need to explain though, because when he said he didn’t care, I knew he was telling the truth.

I have been writing poems since I was fifteen years old.  I have been with Mark since I was 27.  That is over a decade of angsty poems about various guys I encountered during that time, and my husband is not so simple that he thinks I was just waiting around for him. 

Some of the poems are crap, but could be well-fixed with edits.  Some are good.  A couple even rhyme, something I used to do all the time but rarely do now, as a lot of mags won’t accept rhyming poems.  Which I think is crap…it’s harder to write a good rhyming poem than a good free verse.  But I digress…

Anyway, I’ve got all these poems about these men.  Some are wonderful dudes that I am proud to have  known and loved.  Others are not.  Now, when I edit, I try to read though once from an outsider’s perspective, as best as I can.  How would I relate to this poem were I not me?  Could I relate to it, even?  Sometimes the answer is no, and I cut it from the project.  Sometimes it’s a resounding yes.  Sometimes it’s a maybe, and I edit it to make it more adaptable.  I’ve done this with twenty poems so far.  I may be able to scrounge up a couple more, which would be nice, but that’s a decent length for a chapbook.

My first book was about chronic and mental illness.  All the poems in it were a reflection of myself at my most vulnerable.  Having succeeded in overcoming my fears regarding such things, I am ready to tackle another vulnerable side of myself, the part of me that gives permission to love.  And who on earth can’t relate to that, in some form? 

Anyway, this is just my brain working.  It’s a ways off before I send it out to folks, but I’m thinking of it today.  My next chapbook out will actually hopefully be a mini-chap though Pen & Anvil Press, but I am still waiting to hear back from them regarding editing and publication dates.  But this guy, this little book of love and hate and loss and lust, that’s what I’m working on next, poetry-wise.

But probably not until December.  Because, you know, 10 days until NaNo. 

Preptober 2020

Well, it is October, so I am knee-deep in Preptober.

What’s Preptober, you ask?

Well, first, I have to tell you about NaNoWriMo. 

NaNo, as I will call it henceforth, is short for National Novel Writing Month, which is every November.  There is a website, where you sign up and log your daily word count throughout the month.  The goal is to write at least 50,000 words.  It is a daunting task.  I won by a nose last year, pulling in about 51.000 words. My first book’s first draft was complete.  It is short, likely going to be a novella or a serial or something, but it’s done and out of me and I was prouder of myself than I have ever been.

Now, when I wrote that guy, I had massive amounts of prep done already.  Outlines, character descriptions, dialogue snippets, and about four already written chapters.  I didn’t need to do a whole lot of prep, because I had already done it years earlier when I got the idea for the book.  It was just a matter of sitting down to write it.

This year, though, things are a little different.  I have an outline and character descriptions and a very rough first chapter, and only because I have been working on these things since Oct. 1.  See, the month beforehand is called Preptober, and it’s when we get ready for NaNo.  I have a workbook I am using, and it has been very helpful for streamlining my thought processes.  Everyday I complete a task from the book, then I work it into my notes or story.  It has really been useful. 

Last year, I wrote a little story that had lived in me for a couple of years, ever since Robin Williams passed away, actually.  That was the day I started it.  It marinated in my head for a while before falling out my fingertips.  This story is similar, but it has been soaking in my brainwaves for a much longer period of time.

See, I started writing a book about 18 years ago or so, when Bush was president and I thought the world was on fire (hindsight is 20/20.)  It was about a group of freedom fighters who topple a dictator who has taken over the USA and implemented many unjust laws to suit his own desires.  Then Obama got elected, and some of my fire died out, so I abandoned it for a while.  Then 45 got elected, and I reread it, realized I am either a plagiarizer or a fortune-teller, and scrapped the whole thing.

But those characters.  I spent so much time on those characters, and I loved them.  I love them more than Frankie, my lead from last year’s novel.  They have been living in my head for so long, just waiting to be put into prose.  Now is the time.

I scrapped the whole plot, of course.  I built a new one, and inserted my lovely characters into it.  And it’s already better than it was before…they are adapting to their surroundings quite nicely.

So, today’s Preptober assignment is about inciting action. When I do these exercises, I feel like I am back in Ms. Maloney’s 12th grade creative writing class.  Part of me is like “Oh, this is pointless, writing out these details that are already in my brain.”  The other part of me remembers that class, and the four-inch thick portfolio I left it with, and how each of those stories had a worksheet or an essay or something to help me understand the aspects of storytelling better.  And they worked, so I am leaning on these assignments the same way I did my English homework.

Anyway, we are almost halfway though the month, so NaNo is fast approaching.  As I did last year, I will be updating my blog on Thursday’s in November with my progress reports on the whole experience.  I have very high hopes this time around, because I think that A. my novel will be significantly longer…we’re talking full-length book.  And B. I think it is a marketable concept.  I really believe it will get published.  I really believe it will sell. 

Just gotta get it outta my fingertips.

The Sleeping Muse

Sometimes, as a writer, you start to think the muse is dead.

At the end of every three months or so, I prep my poetry submissions for the upcoming season.  There is a site called Entropy that publishes a huge list of journals accepting submissions every three months, and I work my way through it with my seasonal submission and hope for the best.  I haven’t encountered any hiccups (this is since starting submissions in 2018.)  Until now, that is.

I won’t call it writer’s block, because I am writing.  I’m pecking out my bi-weekly blog, and the occasional note or dialogue for the novels, both that in editing and that in planning.  But my poetry has been stifled, somehow.  It’s just not flowing.  And this makes me nervous, because poetry is my lifeline to writing on the whole. 

Usually, it happens spontaneously.  Something will happen, or occur to me, and I will have to write it down in a rush, then edit it, then voila!  A poem.  Bam, just like that.  A few a week, usually.  But lately…nothing.

Yesterday, I made myself write one.  It was about the Out of the Darkness Walk that I do every September.  I decided I would write it as a warm-up…give myself a topic (the walk, as yesterday marked one more month until the event,) and sit down at the computer and write something about it.  I surprised myself, in the end.  Which is a good sign.

Any time I surprise myself while writing, it means it’s pretty good.  If I’m reading back what I’ve written and I’ve forgotten I was the author, then it’s really good.  These are the standards by which I judge my work.  It felt like, for some time, this wasn’t happening for me.  Nothing was surprising me.  I feel very hopeless in these moments, as though the muse has left and will never return. 

But then I wrote a little poem, and it’s kind of good.  Then, I wrote another…not as good, but the fire was there.  I wrote a third.  And a fourth…

By the end of the day I had my fall submissions ready to go.  Yesterday morning, I had nothing.  I had the feeling of self-doubt that consumes the writer who doesn’t know what to write about.  I had the voice in my head whispering that it was all crap.  But, last night, I had a full submission packet and several new poems. 

The muse is not dead.  Sleeping, perhaps.  But not dead.

Sunday Surprise

I used to keep journals, religiously.  Until one day, a terrible thing happened and I destroyed them all in an effort to burn away my memories.  It didn’t work at first, but with time and no pages to look over I gradually let go of things that I held onto for too long.

I have one journal left, that chronicles a chunk of my 20’s.  I don’t read it; I just keep it because someday there might be a story in there.  Aside from my journals, there are my blogs.  I have kept many blogs over the years, ranging from the personal to the professional.  I suppose this is as close as I come to journaling these days.

Now, if I did still keep one, I would certainly have written in it about yesterday.

I was sitting in bed eating carrots and watching 30 Rock on Hulu when my dad called me.  “Are you sitting down??” he says.  Oh, no.  Someone is dead.  Wait, no, he doesn’t sound upset.  Must be good news?  What could it be??  I, of course, run crazy with thoughts in that moment, but then he says something about the newspaper and it takes me a minute to put the pieces together and suddenly I realize what he is telling me.

I am in the newspaper.

Now, I’ve been published all over the web.  And I have a book of poetry out.  But I really don’t think anyone was as excited about any of that as much as they were about me being in the paper.  Mom came and took me to the gas station to buy a copy.  When I got home, the poetry editor from the News sent me a friend request, with an image of my poem.  He tagged me in a Facebook post that I shared on my socials.  And still…I was in shock.

See. I dreamt of this before anything.

I wanted to be on that poetry page since I was a teenager, discovering it one afternoon while searching the Gusto for acting gigs.  It seemed…attainable.  And yet…my early poetry was only published at the now defunct poetry.com. (Side note: the website still exists, but I don’t know where my poems went.)  I didn’t think any of the early stuff good enough, anyways.  Then, after my self-imposed writing hiatus and comeback, I saw the news as UNATTAINABLE, because I just wasn’t good enough.  I didn’t have a book yet, or a signing, or an interview.  I was nobody.

Now, I disagree.  I have stats to back my writing up, a little.  So, I composed an email and sent it to the poetry editor and waited, hopeful.

And then this.

The poem was the one I won the Poesia contest with, too.  So that little guy is having a good summer.

I am reminded a little of the tale “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”  In it, her father tells her “If you see it in The Sun [their local newspaper,] it’s so.”  That is how I feel today.  I saw it in the News.  It must be true.

So, if I kept a journal, that’s what I would write about today.  Maybe a little about how E is spending the week and I am looking forward to lots of time with her while Mark is at work.  Today we are going to the park to do a photoshoot for a new author pic for me.  Tomorrow she wants to go fishing.  She has never been here solo before, so this is a really fun new experience for us.  I would write about it, because I would want to remember it.

I don’t keep journals anymore, and by default, I don’t do scrapbooks anymore either though I still have about seven of them.  I kind of wish I did, so I would have somewhere to put my newspaper clipping.  Ah, well. 

A frame will have to do. 

Rejected

One of my favorite books about writing is called On Writing.  Guess who wrote it?  Stephen, of course.  So naturally I adore it and have read it thrice.

Now, everything Mr. King says is not law.  It’s not my bible, anymore than Elements of Style or my college writer’s handbook are, but it adds to the scripture of my writing beliefs, and it tells me amusing tales of my favorite author. 

One of the stories I like is that he got a nail and stuck it to his wall, and then put every rejection slip he received onto the nail.  Eventually he had to upgrade to a spike.  I am thinking of Stephen’s spike this morning, as I scroll though Twitter and see several people discussing their number of rejections.

Here’s what I do:

I have a Word file in which I log every submission.  When I get a rejection, I go back and italicize the entry.  If I get an acceptance, I make it bold.  Now, I have been keeping this log since I started submitting things in 2018, so it’s a little long.  Thing is though, I really have no idea how many rejections I have received.  And I don’t care to know.

I feel like knowing exactly how many times someone has said “nope, not you,” would be incredibly stressful.  I mean, I could go back and count, but I don’t want to.  I could also count my acceptances, but I don’t do that either.  What I like to do, though, is save my best acceptances.  I have four or five that really made me smile.  My first short story acceptance will always stay with me: “I thought this would be a cliched, POV experiment,” he said, “I was wrong.” 

There are some great rejections I have gotten, too.  The ones along the lines of “we’re sorry, we loved it, we ran out of room, submit again,” are my favorites.  Some editors really take the time to send good rejections, and those are the journals and mags I want to submit to again. 

As I’ve written before, I handle rejection better than the average person, likely because of my theater background.  So, when I get a rejection, even the form-letter sort, I move on from it rather quickly.  Italicize, and go.  Onto the next.  I suppose that’s why it is hard for me to wrap my head around the concept of keeping a running tally of rejections in your head.  Aren’t you stressed out?  Aren’t you anxious in every possible way?  I know I would be.

I went back and looked at my log for submissions of A Lovely Wreckage.  I submitted to 15 places.  Six said no thanks, one said yes, and the rest I withdrew.  Six nope’s to get the yes, and I know I lucked out there.  But some people?  200 no’s, still waiting on that yes.  How do you sleep at night with that knowledge in your head?!

Rejection is a huge part of the querying process, and I feel well prepared to deal with it, which is a new and interesting turn of events.  I do not focus on it, because that can weigh you down.  Just assume you weren’t a match…it’s like online dating.  So someone swiped left on you.  Big deal.  Plenty of fish in the sea, or poetry journals in the sea, as the case may be.

I guess my point is to not let the rejections become your focus, because it will throw you off your game.  If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that little is accomplished if you don’t believe in yourself.  If you do, eventually, they will, too.