After umpteen submissions of my current novel the dance became old. I didn’t give up. Instead, I started another novel, pumped my social media and considered self-publishing.
I suppose for those with a healthy hide, buttered and tough, the rejection game is cake. Despite the onslaught of vague rejections perseverance kept me going. But bruises eventually appeared. Every morning as I hunkered in front of my laptop, I braced for the gut punch: another rejection. I began to spiral. Anxiety and grumpiness followed.
WHO WANTS THAT LIFE?
The conscious decision to disconnect from my writing world proved liberating. I packed away the evidence on my desk and shared the dismal truth with friends. “I’m no longer a writer,” I’d say in casual conversations and find a smile. I realize now, the admission was more to convince myself than others.
Funny thing. After two months my characters started talking to me, to one another, writing their own juicy scenes. I found reasons to linger in my office. After henpecking emails, I’d drift to my manuscript, tickle the keyboard.
Agents dwell in the tunnels. We can’t see them but they’re there, moving targets amongst stacks of queries. On any given day their wish lists may swing from vague to overly specific. When they say I’d like a quirky family saga with dark characters. My guess is if you submit a serious saga with a wow hook and an unforgettable protagonist you may strike gold in that tunnel.
AFTER MONTHS OF FENCE HOPPING I’M BACK
Trying to get published is like entering a black tunnel. After polishing the opening paragraph, the first chapter, the saggy middle and every keystroke in between, we toss out query bombs. Sweat drips from our brow and we wait.
I’m knee deep inside that tunnel now galloping into the darkness. When I find glimmers of light, I toss a query bomb hoping to land an agent. Stepping into my fearless writer boots proved daunting. The act a declaration. And a giant step toward this girl’s dream.
LESSONS LEARNED ALONG THE WAY
THE PIT IS REAL Splash around it. Own your disappointment. It hurts and deserves your attention. Often underlying issues are at the core. All writers possess quarks and varying confidence levels. Don’t let your uniqueness define your ability to write and submit.
PACE YOURSELF Defeat illuminates the traps that snagged you first go around. Understand what they are and tread accordingly. If a writing group left you paralyzed, stay away from corporate community. Find a person or two in the writing arena to be your compadre(s). If critiques throw you in a tizzy, seek selective reader.
AGENTS ARE REAL PEOPLE Assuming your work is professional, and you’ve bared your soul onto every page, you’ve done your part. We have to remember an agent’s acquired taste is subjective. We don’t have to like it but it’s true. Social media is your friend. Invest time in researching an agent before tossing them a bomb.
WRITE BECAUSE YOU LOVE IT Not for any other reason. Writers who love to write can’t not write. Even through numbing rewrites. It’s worth it. But if that’s not you, it’s okay. Be a hobbyist. Writing is a gift some of us are lucky enough to possess.
FILTER REJECTION THROUGH YOUR LENS If you wilt easily, I’m certain you will eventually toughen up. My hide still bruises but I filter rejections through the eyes of a businesswoman. Gut wrenching emotion stays out of the equation. I ask, what can I learn from this rejection?
WRITING IS A JOURNEY If you must step off the path there’s always a way back.