There’s an urban myth that if something falls on the floor and it is picked up within ten seconds, it’s as good as if it never dropped, perfectly safe. Microbes have not had time to contaminate.
Our kitchen floor is particularly good for this rule because the floor is a soft linoleum. When a chunk of buttered Italian bread hits the floor, it bounces. Catch it on the first bounce and all is well.
The truth is microbes are fast little buggers. They don’t play by the arbitrary rules humans set up to make tough choices easier or better yet help busy moms save that lollipop to avoid ear splitting screams. With the said rule declared, we save otherwise lost causes. Why? Ultimately, the human body is built to combat invaders, and being germophobic is a luxury most of the world can’t live by, even in a COVID-19 world. Adjustments are made in expectations; risks are accepted, and life goes on. The rule provides an escape hatch to practical sensibility.
Give yourself the same break. If your story falls flat (or any endeavor), if rejections pour in and critiques feel overwhelmingly critical, don’t abandon it as a lost cause. Brush it off, pick out the dirt, slice off the bad part. You’ll avoid calling your less than perfect creative work, ‘trash’ and maybe quell some ear-splitting screams from your heart. Look at it again. Did you see that bounce? It’s coming back up to you. Catch it!