A fellow writer asked me last week what I do to combat the inner "you suck" messages that follow hard on the heels of a rejection, a contest flop, or a dry spell in our writing.
I could give you some long, complicated answer and write a truly inspiring blog post but honestly, I can sum it up in two words: take action.
Whenever I received a rejection from an agent, I sat down at the computer, did a little research, and queried two more. When I didn't place well in a contest, I focused on the next project at hand and set a goal to have it ready for the next big contest. When I face a dry spell in my writing (and we all have those days where writing is like wringing water from a rock), I keep writing.
Maybe I write something different--take a scene from a new perspective, outline another project, interview my characters--but nothing cures the inner "I suck" voice like proving it wrong and action is the only way to do that.
Because the truth is, most of the agents out there weren't for me. Some of the contest judges I received didn't think I hung the moon. And sometimes my writing sucks--but sometimes it's brilliant. I wouldn't get to the brilliant if I stopped at "you suck."
Feeling discouraged? Query another agent. Take a workshop. Brainstorm with other writers. Enter another contest. Write another chapter. Take action. You'll stomp that whiny little voice of doubt into silence when you do.