I grew up in a household where optimism was terminated with extreme prejudice. “Don’t look forward to anything — you might get disappointed,” my mother would say, as her mother said before her and so on.
As a result, I am wary of my optimism. Whenever I submit a query to a publisher or agent, whenever I submit a poem or short story to a website or literary journal, my mind fantasizes about getting that acceptance, that stamp of approval that is going to change my life forever, and the nagging Mom-voice kicks in with the family legacy,
Most of the time, I don’t get accepted. With my short stories and poems, I think I have a 10% publishing rate, which isn’t bad. I haven’t gotten more than an honorable mention in a “high literary” outfit. Which isn’t bad, but maybe not life-changing.
As for the novel front, I haven’t gotten an agent or publisher yet despite a whole lot of improving and improving and editing and rewriting and querying and … yet every time I submit I daydream about how I’ll get picked up and my life will change.
And I will get disappointed again. Which is why I distrust my optimism. Which is the wrong thing to do.
There is nothing wrong with optimism. It helps me motivate for another try. It puts a bounce in my step. It enhances my day. Sure, I might get my hopes crushed (90% of the time I do) but the optimism is worth it.
So I will stay optimistic despite my internal Mom-voice trying to ruin all my fun. It might pay off in the end.