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.

fear1
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.

fear2
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.

fear3

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?

 

Threes

Things happen in threes, usually bad things. Like the week David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Glen Fry from the Eagles all died. Yes, I know, humans are so programmed to look for patterns, that we often find them where they don’t exist.

Doesn’t mean the universe isn’t laughing at me anyway.

My three started after an piece of essential software broke at work. Then someone hit my car in the grocery store parking lot and left it. Finally, the baby decided sleeping at night was for chumps (again).

As I am working through these issues, I was excited and ready for a “me” day. A day where I take vacation from work but my children are still in daycare. A day I could spend hours writing without interruption. Maybe even read a grown-up book.

A few days before this amazing treat, daycare calls me to come pick up my sick child. If you have children in daycare for any length of time, you know they get rockin’ immune systems. The kind that laugh at most germs because they’ve seen soooo much worse.

I hoped it was nothing as sometimes daycare errs on the side of caution. I picked her up and brought her home, tucking her onto the sofa with some television where she promptly fell asleep.

Uh, oh. She was sleeping through TV. Not just any TV, but My Little Ponies. She must be really sick.

By the next day, she was all but bouncing off the walls to go back to “school”. I thought we were in the clear. Just a little bug.

And then that “little bug” hit me. I spent my day of writing sucking down cold medicine and lying in bed, just glad that I had a few hours to rest before I had to go get the germ bringers from daycare.

Looks like it’s going to take a little longer to work through my Roadblock.

Road Block

I have been working on a manuscript for over a year. I took a break from it when I hit around 45,000 and started another book. I finished that book, revised it, and turned back to the 45,000 words.

Those words stared at me for a few days. Then I scrapped them and started over.

I  am now at the 25,000 word mark and again wondering if I should start something else.

But I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to quit. That’s not who I am.

Time to analyze.

Thinking through the issues the past few weeks has helped me hone in on where my trouble is.

  • The manuscript in question is a romance novel and the male lead is someone I wouldn’t like in real life. At least, not at the beginning of his character arc. Maybe even not at the end. But he is interesting.
  • The heroine is “nice”, and in my world, that has meant someone who tends to be a victim. But she isn’t, and I can’t let myself write her that way.
  • The hero has to be kept out of his center of power or the story ends. I had foolishly planned much of the story to happen after her returned to his center of power.

I am not sure I want to give up yet. This is a story I want to tell or I wouldn’t have invested so much into it.

I can’t change the hero’s basic ruthlessness or he’s no longer the hero. I can’t make the heroine less of a kind person, or I rob her of an innate part of herself.

So, I have to revamp where I think the story is going and stretch my writing muscle to get there. Being true to both characters the whole time.