In the martial arts style I train in, TaeKwonDo, we do something called free sparring or padded fighting. It's a way of perfecting our skills in defending ourselves against an attacker. Unlike these two, we wear protective gear and use light contact which takes far more control of mind or body than just slugging it out. But sometimes you don't see a punch or kick coming or you don't block in time and you get hit where you least expect it.
I remember early in my training when I was still working out with my son. He always had superior skill to my own but I enjoyed sparring with him because it challenged me to think on my feet and deal with whatever came my way. One day, however, we were sparring during class and I must not have been paying attention as well as I should because I let my guard down...I dropped my hands...as he was doing a roundhouse kick and I stopped his attack to my head...with my MOUTH. Needless to say that was a lesson learned from the split lip and permanent scar I have from being able to say "I didn't see it coming".
Writing can be like sparring sometimes...
We try to arm ourselves with strong writing skills, workshops, and books on how to perfect our craft, but sometimes it's not enough. Sometimes we don't see it coming and we are hit by those pesky writing demons hell-bent on trying to beat us down. Things like rejection letters, writer's block, self-doubt, and others sneak in a punch or a kick until we feel like all we are doing is crouching in a corner, cowering.
But we have got to remember we are stronger that that! We come from a long line of champion authors who are in our corner. Encouraging us. Cheering us on. Lifting us up and reminding us we chose this path for a reason. Simply put...we have no choice but to write. It's in our blood...in our very souls...and no silly, self-made demons can deter our focus on this path to publication.
So I say bring on the rejection letters...it only proves my work is making it's way in the real world and one day it WILL find a home. Bring on the writer's block...it will challenge me to be more creative in how I look at my work and maybe it is a gentle message to take a few moments to renew my own spirit before carrying on. And I refuse to be brought down by self-doubt when I can reach out to this wonderful writing community I am a member of...I KNOW my "sparring" partners have my back and will lift me up while encouraging me to step back into the ring.
The only thing I have to worry about is this guy...