Sometimes you do everything you’re supposed to be doing. You wash your hands regularly, you don’t stay up too late, you eat right, and of course, above all things, YOU GET YOUR FLU SHOT.
And sometimes, you get the flu anyway. Not a mild headache or some feverish feelings. Full on, honest-to-goodness, shaky-hands, drippy nose, thousands-of-blankets-make-me-shiver-and-this-sheet-makes-me-sweaty, WHY-DID-WE-BUY-ALL-OF-THESE-60000-WATT-BULBS-FOR-OUR-LAMPS flu.
When that happens, the very best thing is to admit you’ve got the flu, and to go to bed and get plenty of fluids and eat your soup, and see the doctor if you didn’t already.
What you shouldn’t do is try to go about life as if EVERYTHING IS FINE JUST AS PLANNED THANK YOU, coughing all over your loved ones and leaving a slug-like trail of leavings and tissues behind you.
It happens with writing too. Sometimes you spend all the time crafting that piece, and researching, and specifically targeting not just a market but even a very specific outlet, and you follow all their guidelines and you hear positive things from everyone who sees it, and then you get your letter and it starts out with something like “Dear Talented Writer, We regret to inform you …”
When that happens, it’s worth going to bed and getting plenty of fluids and eating your soup until you recover, and then getting back up and carrying on knowing you did everything you could and that something well beyond your control went awry. It doesn’t help to pretend that that particular magazine or publisher or website had it out for you, and it doesn’t help to second-guess all the correct things you did.
On the other hand, if you are staying up late and eating only beef jerky and chocolate-covered bacon chips and drinking only gin and forcibly applying your Chapstick to the lips of random passers-by and NOT GETTING YOUR FLU SHOT, don’t spend your hours in bed holding a grudge against the world or your would-be publisher.
(In other news, I really hope this is just a cold.)