Exploring those mysterious, underlying forces fueling a writing life

Rejection sucks.

You sift through line after line of not just the story, but the cover letter, the synopsis, the query.   You revise, then revise again, and again.  You google the agent/editor and read every entry to find out what she likes and dislikes.   You carefully follow the guidelines, ensure the font and margins are exact.

You offer this creation to the publishing gods.

And it’s not good enough.

Rejection sucks.

Sometimes the reason for the rejection is something that is not in your power to control.  The agent/editor may already have a similar project in the works, your query may have been lost in the jungle of the slush pile, or your main character’s name is Tad and the editor may have had some unpleasant experiences involving a toilet bowl and a thug named Tad in high school.

Whatever the reason, you are not supposed to take it personally.

Yeah, right.

It is your blood, your sweat, your tears, your ink stain that will never come off your favorite purple shirt.

What can you do to lift yourself out of your sinking mud of despair?

I turn to Anne Lamott and her book, Bird by Bird:

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.  You wait and watch and work; you don’t give up.”

I remind myself of the day I explained the publishing process to a group of elementary students.   During the rejection part, one student blurted out this fascinating tidbit: Dr. Seuss was rejected 92 times before he published And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street (it was actually 27 times, but who’s counting?)

So now here I am, waiting, watching, and working… towards those 92 rejections.  So far I have three.

Guess I have a long way to go…


Comments on: "Rejection sucks." (5)

  1. Three rejections by three soon-to-be sorry editors that didn’t see how talented you really are. Don’t worry. Somewhere out there is an editor with high standards and a love for a finely crafted sentence. I have no doubt that your success is imminent!

  2. Ugh! Sometimes it feels like you’re playing the lottery, doesn’t it? However, just like the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play. I know you won’t give up, because you really are that great of a writer. All you need is staying power, and it will happen for you!
    But having said all that positive stuff, I agree: rejection sucks!!
    Want to see how I handle it? http://nancytandon.blogspot.com/2012/02/5-tips-for-handling-rejection.html

    • michmanning said:

      Thanks! I needed that! 🙂

      • Jill Dailey said:

        “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
        ― Maya Angelou
        You will see the pub day, your writer’s voice is strong. We will join you for a stroll singing by the library, in the streets, in the bookstore. And I bet there will be a tree that laughs with us!

  3. Hey sis! All I know is i really enjoyed your work in progress. Do not bend it to fit THEM. It was not something I would have picked up off the shelf but I can’t wait til the next edition. Some of the most famous authors did not become famous until after they were gone. Ya I don’t want you to become famous too late!! Keep pluggin. Maybe try sending ur book to some authors? Maybe someone will read it and have the same reaction I did…More please!!!! and go to bat for you. Rejection sucks…but it does mean that you tried! You can’t strike out unless you step to the plate…and sometime…that one time…u swing and the ball goes out of the park…I have two home runs in my life…one was inside the park when I was 10. The other was two years ago and I hit it dead center center field…Swing Batter!!!

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