"There is no try," the little green guy says, and I suppose it's true. We either do or we do not. Still, there is something to be said for trying. I present workshops on writing, and often I meet people who seem paralyzed by the "What ifs" of publishing. What if I'm rejected? What if I'm not good enough? What if someone steals my work?

The answer to those "What ifs" is another question: "What if you never try?" If you refrain from sending out material for fear someone will steal it, you go nowhere. If you don't put your work before industry professionals, you'll never know if you're good enough. And sadly but truly, if you're never rejected, you'll never fix what it is that you're doing wrong.

So we have to take that step, and not just once, but again and again. I've never met a writer who hasn't got rejections, even those who've sold a book or three. It isn't the rejection that matters; it's how you deal with it. People too often try once or twice and quit, figuring that they aren't good enough. Maybe that's true, but maybe they just haven't found the right agent/editor/publisher.

Ask yourself this question: In my "other" job (the one that supplies your living) was I an ace the first day, the first week, the first month? Probably not. It took time to learn the ropes, time to feel comfortable with the role, time to fit your personal strengths into those of your coworkers. Why, then, do we assume that we should be able to sell our first book with the first submission, or even the first twenty?

It's a process that demands courage and determination, and there is no try. Ironically, there is only "Keep trying."

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