Monday, September 13, 2010

Rejection and Not Giving Up

"Thank you I enjoyed this, but I'm not excited enough about it to take it on at this time."

"Thanks, but this isn't right for me."

Every writer has a stack of these letters hidden away somewhere.  Why we keep them stuffed in our desks or filed away, I don't know.  Letters from agents or editors rejecting the manuscript that we toiled for months and even years to create.

Some of the letters are photocopied form letters, copied so often they are fuzzy with our name and book title scrawled across the top.  Some are our original query letter with 'no, thanks' scrawled across  the bottom. One was a business card that had the agent's name and 'not interested' on it.  The stack of paper as it grows makes us wonder why we are working so hard to produce these stories that no one wants to read. Why pound away at the keyboard when we could be cleaning our house or learning to cook or actually making money?

When I get discouraged, I start to think about how much less stress I would have if I wasn't trying to cram writing books into my day with everything else. My house wouldn't have six months of dust lurking in the corners.  I might actually learn to cook decent meals instead of macaroni and cheese or frozen pizza. I wouldn't be nearly as frustrated when the kids only napped for five minutes instead of forty-five.

So I tell myself, "I'm done." I'm not going to obsess about getting words on paper or adding to my page count. I'll forget about those half-finished manuscripts and worry about something else.  I'll start sewing again.  I'm just going to relax during naptime and read a book for once.

The problem is once I start reading.  If the book is really good, I wish I could create a story as enchanting and I want to try.  Then I'm looking for my computer or my notebook, itching to get the ideas down on paper or pixels.

Now that I've started, I don't think I can give it up, no matter how disappointing those rejections are. Those stories are going to keep churning and trying to get out.

Aren't there support groups for things like that?


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Joselyn, What a great topic. You're so right, all of us authors have stacks of rejection letter. Even after we are published. yikes

What encourages me is when I hear how many rejections now famous authors had. Like those for Chicken Soup, Clan of the Cave Bear, Harry Potter. But what is encouraging is that those authors never gave up.

That's what keeps me going. Thanks for your encouraging words.

Sandy Cody said...

I love that you mention the connection between reading and writing. I also find the two impossibly entangled. As for the wondering "Why do I do this?" - so glad I'm not alone in that.

StephB said...

Very inspirational. I agree - we've all got those letters. I try not to get discouraged.


mulligangirl said...

Great blog, Joselyn. I think we *are* the support group. At least, for me, knowing I'm not the only one with 6 months of dust in my corners and serving Hamburger Helper makes me feel better.

Joselyn Vaughn said...

Thanks for the comments. I think for so many it is too easy to let the negatives get us down. We have to focus on why we can't stop writing.

Mulligangirl - I firmly believe that mac n cheese is a food group with the bonus that my kids will eat it and that we should just name the dust bunnies. :-)

Linda Banche said...

I knew I wasn't the only one. I just got a not-quite rejection letter. The editor made suggestions and said to resubmit. Not as bad as "no", but of, course, I thought my story was great. *g*

WS Gager said...

Great blog, Joselyn. I know exactly how you feel. Writing has taken a lot of the pleasure out of reading because I'm dissecting every book. I can't give up the writing without a 12 step program and I'm not ready to admit to my addiction yet.
W.S. Gager