My version comes before I even start – that blank page stares at me eyeless – and I choose – quietly without acknowledging it – to not even begin. I can’t fail if I don’t try, right?

For others, the final period, the last mark, that’s what they don’t lay in place. It’s not ready, the work isn’t finished.

Sometimes, rejection haunts us as “the muse” or “writer’s block” – the ways we build walls to protect ourselves from what’s to come.

Yet, and yet, we must decide if our fear is worse than not writing or not finishing or not having our work read. For some, the answer is yes; the rejection is worse – and the rest of us must honor that and see if we can’t help each other heal and get stronger. For most of us, though, we are strong enough, and then, we must write, no matter what.

Rejection – well, that’s part of writing (and life, too). It comes in the form of slips of paper photocopied poorly and in the apathy of a friend who doesn’t read what you write. It comes in harsh notes and kind, kind emails. We cannot avoid it . . .

At least, we can’t avoid it and still write. For me, there is no choice.

What kind of rejection have you faced in your writing? How do you prepare for it and get past the fear of it?

By the way, I file away my rejection letters so that some day, I can use them to start a bonfire at my book release party. I encourage you to find a way to make yours significant. Dart board? Paper mache effigy? Suggest other uses, would you?