As I look forward to what 2011 will surely bring, I figure it all kind of comes down to Rejection and Acceptance, whether you’re a writer or not, so here’s a little advice on how we all can handle it. And yes, it’s all pretty obvious, treacly-type stuff, but that’s what New Year’s is about, no?


We all know it’s coming in some form or another this year, and it will happen more than once. A joke you tell at a party will be met with stony silence, an outfit you put on will get the eye-roll from your twelve-year-old daughter, the job you apply for will go to someone less-qualified but better connected, and, of course, the book you may have put way too many hours in writing and fine-tuning and carefully mailing out will be returned after too many agonizing months with a brief note saying it was good but not good enough, or good but not good for us.

I know rejection is coming for me from someone, somewhere, even if acceptance might follow soon after (and oh boy do I hope so). And while it can be good to bolster your spirits with those dreams of eventual acceptance (or dreams of gut-busting laughter at the next joke you tell, or your twelve-year-old daughter saying, “Yeah, I guess you look okay,” instead of  “I guess you look o-kay,” or getting that call with the salary offer and start date), it’s important to be prepared for the alternative. So here’s some advice I acquired this year or over years past. Read, learn, then perform.

  1. 1. Tell the truth (at least some of the time) when someone asks “How are you?” Answering that question honestly this year helped me find a new house, get half a sandwich every now and again if I forgot to bring my lunch to work, and good advice or a listening ear whenever I really needed it.
  2. 2. Share your lunch. Have dinner together. Go out for breakfast. This advice is inspired by my friend Megan who, by design, will bring to work too much leftover orzo pasta or rice and beans and insist I help her finish everything. In return I bring in the extra-large carton of Goldfish crackers every other week, the thermos of coffee every day, the occasional pot of hummus with carrot sticks. Friends share their problems, friends share their good news, but it seems when friends share food (or coffee, or the occasional well-crafted cocktail), that’s when the conversations last longer and mean more.
  1. 3. When necessary, lie down and have a good cry. It does wonders.





There will be good news too, even if it’s just that your kid didn’t catch the lice or the pink eye running rampant through your school or that you somehow missed getting the flu this winter. Even more than that, there will be that special day you break 100 in bowling, you get the good parking spot at the beach with an hour left on the meter, and, finally, you’ll get the word you’ve been hoping and waiting and longing for. Whatever that might be for you. What do to then?

  1. Tell your friends. We need to hear good news, even if, or perhaps especially if, it’s not our own.
    It not only gives us hope, makes us think that maybe our turn is next, it makes us happy.
  1. 2. Be grateful. You know you didn’t do it all by yourself—say thank you. Or buy someone lunch or a coffee or an ice cream cone.

3. Remind yourself that acceptance sometimes means accepting help—don’t be too proud!

4. Celebrate! Dance around in your living room. Get dressed up and go out. False modesty doesn’t suit you.

So those are my words of wisdom for 2011, and I suspect I’ll have to go back and re-read this blog a time or two as I enter the hard year of finding out whether or not my book is worth the paper it’s printed on, plus the toner cartridge I emptied printing it out, not to mention all those long hours I could have spent watching television or perfecting my batting stance or learning how to needlepoint. . . but I have all of 2011 ahead of me—maybe it’s time for a few new resolutions while I work and write and wait for the mail to come. Happy New Year.