About six weeks ago I signed up for the Hampton Roads "Top Self-Help Author" competition. At the time the email arrived talking about the program, I had been thinking about writing a book for about a year. The timing clicked and I jumped into the program, made a video, set up a mini-website asking for votes and started writing the book. Yesterday I finished the first section of the book and the book proposal, both of which would be required for authors moving on to round 2.
Today, I got the email that said that I did NOT advance to round 2. I was shocked. And even more shocked to find that other authors that I had rated as possible candidates for the Big Win did not advance either. Right or wrong, several of us decided that number of votes may have weighed much more than we believed. I hope that's not sour grapes.
I asked two of the other authors who didn't advance how they handled their disappointment. Suzanne, the woman I had decided was going to walk away with the prize, said:
"The first thing I did is Denial. Did not believe that I did not make it to 2nd round. Not because of my writing yet, but because of my video pitch. I felt it was pretty good. Second I lived my emotions. I cried. I cried in silence then in the arms of my big man. And I will probably let myself be sad for tonight. But tomorrow is another day. Nobody is going to discourage me from writing this book, even if I have to publish it myself."I understand the initial denial ... I went over the list three times before I could believe that I didn't make it. I liked Suzanne's acceptance of her feelings. I tried to dismiss mine just as I've tried to pretend that other disappointments along the way didn't matter. But, I am disappointed. It is a rejection and as much as I've learned that writing is a path filled with pebbles, rocks and boulders of rejection, I wanted this to be easy, a slam-dunk invitation to play on a new stage. I have loved writing the book and I wanted the comfort and security of the possible book contract. Now that fantasy has popped like a soap bubble in the sun.
Another author, Joan said:
"How do I handle disappointments? I know everything is the way it is supposed to be... these disappointments lead your life in a direction that will be better for you ... you just don't know it yet... I have CERTAINLY had many disappointments in the past...but it is so much easier now to go with the flow..."How true. I know that six months or a year from now, I will recognize the perfection of this moment, this so-called "rejection." So I sit with my lemonade, bitter-sweet and refreshing, and ideas and patterns begin to break apart and form into new images. Tomorrow is indeed another day ... another day of writing my book and knowing that new possibilities and opportunities are on the way.