Facing Rejection

I hear myself telling DD1 all the time that it doesn’t matter if she succeeds or fails, I’m proud of her for trying her hardest. For really putting in the effort. She sometimes believes me, and other times I get the annoyed preschooler look.

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I totally don’t deserve it.

But, I have to walk the walk now that I’ve written, edited, rewrote, edited, rewrote again, and finally polished Crowned Prince.

I decided I wanted to try getting an agent and go the traditional publishing route if possible. There are pros and cons to both indie publishing and traditional, but I at least wanted to try traditional. Partially for their experience, but mostly for their amazing editors.

I know, I know, but one is not in the budget for us right now. While I take my writing seriously, I also take paying for two kids in daycare seriously. Don’t know if it’s like this everywhere, but where I live, my daycare bill is about twice the cost of an average mortgage payment. So, yeah, not much else is in the budget right now.

If I’m going to find an agent, I need to either meet one at a conference or query one. As a mom with two small children who works full time already, finding time or money for a conference also isn’t in the budget. So that means querying.

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Not this kind of querying.

And being rejected A LOT.

I have a feeling your chances of getting in to Harvard are probably better. After all, they accept 5.2% of their applicants. But, if I want to get an agent, I have to query them.

This is like a lot of things in life.

  • Maybe you don’t like your job, but that means putting yourself out there to find a new one.
  • Maybe you’re single and want to meet someone.
  • Maybe you want to be an actor, but that means showing up for the auditions.

Everything is life is scarce. And the more you want it, the more of yourself you have to put out there to get it.

That means facing the very real risk of rejection. Of failure. Or not being good enough. Talented enough. Just not enough.

The platitude of at least you tried your hardest feels less genuine then, though, really, that’s when it matters most. Trying. Not giving up.

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Persistence in the face of rejection is especially hard when you put so much of yourself into something. Like a job. Or a relationship. Or writing a book. Because this feels like a personal rejection. And we’re a heard animal. It’s ingrained in us to be part of the pack as those that weren’t usually didn’t have a happy ending.

But, I must face failure. I have to try, as I tell my daughter she must.

So I started the process. Looking up agents, trying to see who they represent and what they sell to see if I’ll be a fit. I even queried a few.

And got my first rejection.

It hurt less than I thought it would. But it still hurt.

 

How about you? Ever put yourself out there for something? Maybe a new job? A relationship? A book query? How did it go? Did it go better than you thought? If it didn’t, was the rejection or failure as bad as you thought it’d be?

 

When You Fail the Test

Kids test you. A lot.

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Patience has never been one of my virtues. Even now, if you want to really rile me, have my computer decide to take it’s sweet time when I need something done.

Kids do this all the time. It’s the way they’re wired. They must test boundaries, push you, and see exactly what they can get away with every single day. Because, you know, the rules have changed in the last eighteen seconds.

Like all kids, mine have their annoying little quirks. The youngest refuses to eat bread crusts. Even if you cut the crusts off the bread, she’ll leave the last little ring of bread on her tray as if it were a crust.

So, there’ll be half a sandwich of crusts on her tray, and she’ll toss them to the floor and ask for more.

She is also an insanely picky eater. We’re trying to decide if she can grow-up healthy living on nothing but peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, and fruit. She’ll eat any fruit under the sun, and a lot of raw veggies, but heaven help you if you offer her a piece of chicken. The offending morsel must not be allowed to stay on her plate. Oh no. It gets chucked across the room.

We’re working on that.

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Meal time is never a treat in our house.

Getting ready in the morning can be even worse, especially as we have a deadline to get out the door.

It’s amazing how difficult it is to get two kids into their coats, hats, and mittens and get them out to the car. Of course, then comes the bucking bronco as I try to get the youngest into her five-point car seat. You’d think she was going on a roller-coaster ride with the safety restraint system rather than the three miles to daycare.

This is when I yell.

Why am I so angry? Because we have places to go. Because I don’t want to be late to work myself. Because I want to be doing something other than dealing with their shenanigans.

And that’s the crux of it.

A lot of my test-failing is directly related to being frustrated. To want to do something – have a family meal, get to school on time, put them to bed – that they don’t really want to do. So, they resist. Sometimes directly by throwing themselves onto the floor, and other times indirectly as they refuse to be able to find their hat on thirteen degree day.

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Ask a kid if they want to go to the zoo, and see how fast that hat, mittens and coat go on!

My frustration is especially evident after a long day at work, or when I have expectations that may not always be realistic for small children. As this is my first time with kids, I don’t always have realistic expectations.

I don’t want to be the parent that’s always angry. I want to enjoy the beautiful little creatures that inhabit this house with me.

To try to get there, I’m trying to accept that there’s going to be a lot of times that I’m not going to get what I want.

I might not get a full hour of writing. I might have to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to go with the three oranges and eight strawberries she’s having for supper. But in the end, my relationship with them is worth the sacrifices. They are amazing kids. For the most part.

I’ve also learned to start getting ready in the morning sooner. If I get them to daycare ten minutes early, no one really minds. It saves a little of my sanity, if you can call someone that has voices in her head sane.

I’m figuring it out, and I’m making mistakes along the way. But I figure as long as I approach parenting with love, I can’t screw them up too badly.

 

How about you? Any coping techniques when things really frustrate you? Or getting kids ready in the morning? Ever have to deal with a picky eater? How did you handle it? Or maybe you’re the picky eater?

Back to Business

I rewrote my query, and after taking a deep breath, I sent my “baby” back out into the big mean world.

I have been trying to push myself so that if I am not feeling inspired to write, then I can work on the “business” aspect of writing.

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It’s gotten me to at least get my work back out there. I need to push myself a little harder on this, but frankly, it’s probably not going to happen. It’s asking me to change a fundamental part of myself that pushes hard to succeed, but tends to push in areas where I know I can be successful.

Failure is painful and not something I have ever taken well. Probably because for most of my life failure wasn’t permitted. I never learned how to do it with grace.

This article in Elle that states women are much less likely to takes risks than men because we are punished more for failure really resounded with me. I saw myself in several aspects of the article, up to and including why I changed my major in college.

But, as I told DD1 in the car this week, you can never succeed if you don’t try. Time to put my keyboard where my mouth is.

I have also contemplated trying to find some quality “craft” books. Books that teach you how to be a better writer. I’ve read Stephen King’s autobiography. It was a good read, and perhaps I should reread it as it’s been many years since I read it.

Interestingly, I haven’t been able to find any craft written by Nora Roberts, Stephanie Laurens, J.K. Rowling or the like. Not sure how much stock I put in a craft book written by someone that isn’t a bestselling author. It does seem that a lot of people make a lot of money on writers trying to get published.

I do follow some blogs on the craft of writing, but I don’t feel like I’ve ever gotten much out of them. Partially, because none of them are geared to Romance writers. And partially, I think, because I learn by example. Theory does little for me. I learned more my first year in public accounting than I did all four years of college.

I also contemplated a writer’s conference, but that is out of the question. The expense makes it impossible, and DH would kill me if I thought I was leaving him alone with the two girls for a week. And, being an introvert, going to a conference where I wouldn’t know anyone would be a personal hell.

For the moment, I’ll stick to reading and see if that helps my writing. I will go back and pull out Stephen King’s autobiography. I’ll keep reading blogs. And I’ll keep clicking away on the keyboard.