Anne Lamott, the author of Bird by Bird (one of the great books on writing), had this to say recently:
“Publication and temporary creative successes are something you have to recover from. They kill as many people as not. They will hurt, damage and change you in ways you cannot imagine. The most degraded and sometimes nearly-evil men I have known wereall writers who’d had bestsellers. Yet, it is also a miracle to get your work published. Just try to bust yourself gently of the fantasy that publication will heal you, will fill the Swiss cheesey holes. It won’t, it can’t. But writing can. So can singing.”
This rings true for me. Publication is exciting. It is heady. Like all “ups” it brings “downs” if you let it. If I don’t want to get depressed over rejections, then I don’t want to get too excited about publications. Same goes for awards. They are magic, but I find I have to stay focused on my work, which is so hard to do.
I am a total beginner, and I have learned how true it is, the hard way. Of course I still want publications and awards and all of that good stuff. But I take positive and negative comments with about equal receptivity, and I take publication and rejection as equal parts of the writing process.