Don't worry! This isn't a sob story or pity party.
On April 6th, 2020, I received my first rejection letter! It's by far the coolest thing that's happened to me in this endeavor. When I was just sixteen, I dreamed of the day I'd receive...more or less acknowledgment that I am an author. I tried, admittedly overworked something, fell short, and I got back up.
Getting the email was surreal. I don't know that I even expected any reply at all if I'm honest.
I sat down, and I wrote this in my notebook:
I think by rule of thumb, authors are supposed to feel some ginormous sense of self-loss after getting their first rejection letter. I got my first today(!!!!) and that's not at all what I felt. I didn't actually feel much. Funny how surrounding yourself with people who constantly encourage and challenge you to be your own personal best can prepare you for a moment like this.
It was actually kind of cool.
I told my mom--who hugged me and apologized. I told her it was okay, and I thanked her for being hard on me. You may have heard me gripe about my mom's notes on my work, or how she'll write something that says, "I don't know but this is not good," next to a paragraph in my draft. Without her, I would not strive to be my best.
I told my best friend of ten years. She's given me the short, sweet advice of: "Pull a JK Rowling on those rejection asses," and "Onto the next."
Lastly, I told Mrs. S. Her advice has always been what has taught me most, though it'll often slip my mind. Simply put, "Go with your gut. Trust your instincts. Hang in there and just keep your nose to the grindstone."
I will never discredit the work that I put into this dream, but my peers and the way they push me to be my best is part of my success. Surround yourself with people who challenge you. Be your own personal best; beat your own record.
This dream is the biggest challenge to tackle. Everything has been a learning experience. I have learned about myself and my strengths and weaknesses. I learned that I can most definitely (accidentally) take my voice out of my work. I learned that I'm happy to lose sleep over this.
I learned what I did wrong in the query letter and five pages I sent out. I'm taking that learning experience to shape myself better for the next.
Work hard; get far. Keep at it.