I think one of the hardest things for me about this whole writing gig is getting back to it after disappointment. As many of you know, especially if you’re friends with me on Facebook, I recently submitted a story of mine to agents. The story is the middle-grade adventure I wrote, “The Treasure of Banshee Isle.”
I know this is the case with all of us and all of our babies, but I love this story. I love my characters, I love my adventure, I love my setting and my plot twists. I was really excited to get this story out in the world. What’s more, it’s the first thing I’ve completed in ages. I spent so many months and years on Dragons, that everything else was a half-hearted attempt or a just-for-fun project. I really had high hopes for Banshee Isle. It was something new I hadn’t tried before, something different, and something I thought had a good chance of getting some interest in it.
And then I got three rejections THE FIRST DAY.
I know you have all been there, the emotion you pour into a work, your life’s blood for days, weeks, months on end, all culminating in this one shot to get noticed. The adrenaline courses through you, you put all your eggs in this one flimsy basket, pin all your hopes and dreams on the “send” button and hold your breath (think I can get any more clichés in this sentence? No? Okay, done now) waiting, as you wait for that one agent who will see your masterpiece and fall in love.
And then to get three rejections the first day. Now, I understand this is part of the business. I know the rejections roll in faster than the interests. I’ve both been there and done that plenty of times before. It’s part of the job, and each rejection, if you let it, makes you a better writer and gets you that much closer to the eventual acceptance.
But, oh, how hurtful it is! Right on top of the post-send-button-adrenaline-rush-crash, to get multiple rejections is about as painful as it gets. It makes me question my talent and skill as a writer, makes me doubt my ability to spin a story that anyone would ever want to read, makes me want to sit and cry and never attempt anything bold or scary 0r put myself out there ever again in my life. I spent two days doing virtually nothing, wanting only to curl up in a ball and bask in my misery. That was followed by a day of manic productivity, as I bounced, yo-yo-like, back from the depths of despair, as I came to terms with the fact that yes, it is part of the business, and I cannot take every rejection personally.
But most difficult is getting back to the writing. It is so hard, as I sit here day after day watching the rejections roll in, or, worse, receiving nothing at all (because my query wasn’t even worth replying to, clearly), to move on to the next project.
My goal for this year is to finish several projects I’ve started over the last few years. I have two stories at the top of my queue which I think both have TONS of potential, if I can ever finish them. But getting to them, buckling down and getting back to work in the face of rejection (read: FAILURE), is the hardest step. Moving on, letting go of what’s done and waiting, not stressing over it, is nearly impossible.
And so, back to the drawing board I go, slowly but surely, to trudge through the self-doubt and frustration and heartache that is the career of writing.