Young, and not so young new writers, often tell me that they’re determined to have a book published with their name on it.
Goals are great. We need goals – and getting published won’t happen without that determination.
But sometimes I worry that the drive to be published, to hold a book with your name on it, can start to overrule the drive to write a story you believe in. Let’s face it, being an author is a bizarre and uncertain way to make a living – probably slightly less reliable than professional gambling. The point of following it as a career is because you love the writing itself.
Because it’s the writing that’s fun: the losing yourself in a story; the getting to know your characters; the jigsaw-puzzle satisfaction of figuring out how the plot fits together; the pure joy of a new idea and the electrifying jolt of inspiration that starts it.
So keep your goal of getting published, but go on playing with your writing. Put the rejected story aside for a while; try a new one, or even try a different genre. You might be surprised at what turns out to suit you. You might discover a new insight into the way you work.
And you might have fun, and regain the love of what you do.