Last fall I sent a requested proposal to my dream publishing house, the goal I've been targeting for years. Many weeks later I received a very nice letter from the editor I'd sent to saying they weren't interested in the manuscript. Rejected. BUT, she took the time to tell me why. She told me what was missing, giving me something concrete to work with.
Since the proposal was requested as a result of Seekerville's Read Me Contest, I emailed Tina to give her the news and to thank her for the contest which gave me the opportunity. Her reply to me was wonderful. “This is exciting. You have gotten your first editorial critique! Time to revise!”
Rejection vs. editorial critique.
Grave stone vs. stepping stone.
Same exact number of letters, totally different results.
If I were to see that rejection letter as just a rejection, it could easily become a grave stone. I could let it become the excuse to quit writing fiction—for a time or forever. But, if I see it as a stepping stone, the experience becomes the first, and often scariest or hardest proposal under my belt and off my list of things to dread and worry about. Besides, I now know what I need to do to bring that manuscript up to par—through an editor's eyes.
Yes, I failed at my ultimate objective—a contract with my dream publisher, but I took great strides along the journey of reaching that goal. Not just that, but I know a few more things I need to do to help me along that journey toward that goal.
Just think about the game Mother May I. How often did you hear “No steps needed, you win”? (or something like that, LoL) You didn't. It was always a series of small or giant steps forward or backward until you eventually reached the goal.
So why do we expect to immediately reach our goals?
Why do we see failure as bad?
As Christians, if we see failures as grave stones, we are neutralized—no longer effective, and Satan wins that round. Certainly not what we want to happen.
It's a mental issue—how we choose to see the failure.
It's part of the war we're in—and wars are made up of many battles. Few wars are won with one decisive crushing victory—especially where our minds are concerned. That means every time we catch ourselves thinking of the failure as a grave stone, we need to stop, turn around and choose to see it as a stepping stone. It's a choice we may have to make many times a day.
So that rejection letter I received... was it a grave stone or a stepping stone? A stepping stone. I'm hard at work on the manuscript, adding in the elements the editor said it was missing and changing the things she mentioned so I can submit it somewhere else. And you know what? If this manuscript never finds a home, it has served its purpose—it's helped me along the journey of life, helped me face lots of fears I had and shown me many cool things. Even if the manuscript is committed to the Dust Bunnies and never sees the light of day, it will have been a stepping stone.
What about you? Is there a grave stone in your life you need to change to a stepping stone? Ask God to help you see it differently then step in faith and choose to think about it differently. It's the difference between stepping backward and forward—between neutralization and victory.