Now that I have been submitting more, I've become quite a pro at handling rejection. What's my secret? Gratitude. If you're grateful to be alive with the ability to write, rejection doesn't matter. I wrote about this on my Gratitudenist blog yesterday.
But then I read an inspiring article by Susan Spencer-Wendel that I just had to share here. If you're not familiar with Spencer-Wendel's story, I encourage you to check out her best-selling book, Until I Say Goodbye, an inspirational memoir about her struggles with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and her efforts to make the most out of her last few years. She typed the book entirely on her iPhone with one thumb.
This most recent article on Today.com took her 20 hours -yes 20 hours - to write because she no longer has use of her thumb. She now has to use a HeadMouse Extreme, which involves a camera attached to her computer screen and a reflective dot stuck on her nose. She points the dot at the letters on a keyboard that appears on her screen. Can you imagine the patience and perseverance involved in taking twenty hours to write a short article, one letter at a time?
Here's an excerpt from the article about how her new French bulldog, Lenny, has inspired her to keep writing:
In January, right about the time I could no longer eat solid food, I asked for a lapdog. My mother-in-law was visiting and said, "This may be none of my business, but why would you want a second dog at this time?"
Isn't it impossible not to be inspired by this amazing woman and writer? She is the ultimate example of someone who lives with not only gratitude, but also humility and humor. Stories like hers make rejection seem like a tiny, tiny spec of dirt in a big, beautiful world.
The next time you receive a rejection letter, try to be grateful that you have the ability to write in the first place. It's amazing how it changes your perspective. Oh, and read Susan's book.
Julie Richie is a mother and writer who was inspired to write by the book Beat the Turtle Drum by Constance C. Greene when she was eleven years old.