Things did not go as I’d hoped with the latest submission of my picture book biography of James. Yesterday morning I had an e-mail from the editor saying all manner of nice things about the manuscript but also that, for various stated reasons, this version wasn’t right for her or her house. While unenthusiastic about seeing another revision of James, she did ask if I had anything else to send her.

I switched right into “What’s next?” mode, thinking about where to send James off to now and mentally flipping through my file of potential picture book ideas. I zapped a quick e-mail to my agent and got on with my day.

It was only in the evening while washing dishes that I realized how, not so long ago, I would have felt either bruised by the editor’s rejection (after 11 months of sharing James exclusively with her) or overjoyed by her request that I send something else her way, or quite possibly both. And however I would have felt, I likely would have felt that way for some time.

I miss having that sort of reaction. Even-keeled professionalism has its benefits, but frankly, I’d have preferred feeling a little more strongly about yesterday’s news. But I really didn’t give myself time for that, which is a shame, because writing can’t be just business — it has to be personal. So if I had it to do over again, I would have read the editor’s e-mail and just let it sink in for a few hours, maybe overnight, before doing anything else. And that’s what I’ll do next time.