The Rocky Road of Writing for Children (Rejections, Part 1)

Last weekend my husband and I took a drive up the Alabama Hills, near Lone Pine, CA. If you’ve never been to this area, it’s known for three things:

1) It’s the gateway to Mt. Whitney (the highest point in the lower 48 states, at 14,496.811 feet).
2) The nearby Alabama Hills (where almost every ambush scene from every spaghetti western ever made was filmed but is now a popular rock climbing area).
3) The Lone Pine earthquake of 1872 (where the eastern Sierra was uplifted ten feet in one shot, which all but decimated the town of Lone Pine).

I went there with my husband to learn how to use my new camera. There’s nothing like the Sierras for great photo-ops. After scouring the Alabama Hills we drove up to Whitney Portal (where the road ends and real hikers are tested). As we wound our way up the road, we had to weave our way through a sea of fallen rocks. Time and weather naturally wears away at the landscape. And that got me to thinking…

I love rocks. I always have. Their textures, colors, weights, shapes and unique properties have always fascinated me. I even squeal in excitement when I discover an interesting specimen. Okay, maybe that’s just a weird thing to know about me, but this will relate to writing. I promise.

Winding up that road to Whitney Portal, I realized that the rocks scattered amongst the road were a little like rejection letters. Initially, both are seen as big old obstacles, but if you take a close look at them, they have something to offer—a beautiful treasure worth discovering. Are there shining crystals or a revision suggestion or two? A texture to run your fingers over or a tone that expresses hope and encouragement? Was there a shower of rocks or one humongous boulder that landed with a crash? Some rejection letters are like the latter, casting the writer into a mountain of self-doubt. But once you roll the dang thing over and take a hard look at it, you realize that there was a good reason for you to be right there, at that exact moment in time, for that boulder to land near you. Blessings come in all kinds of disguises.

I’ve had showers of rejections trickle down on me, but I’ve only had an occasional rejection boulder land on me—and it hurts! But thanks to my circle of writing friends (AKA, the writing version of Search and Rescue), I survived it and once again continued my journey down the road of writing for children.

Safe journeys to weary travelers & Watch for Falling Rocks!