I’m the newest member of The Wild Writers and delighted to be in the group. I am also one of the few who have not yet been published. Am I discouraged? No, I’m determined.
First, let me say that while I’ve been writing for a long time, my research career necessitated that I write mainly technical reports. It wasn’t until recently that I found I absolutely love writing fiction (something that would have been frowned upon in a research document). I’ve had a lot to learn as I launched a new career in writing stories for children. Although I love every minute of it, I must say that learning to market my stories is a study in persistence.
I’m proud to say I have a lot in common with Kathryn Stockett, I mean if you ignore the fact that she has an award winning novel, The Help, which was made into a major motion picture, and she lives in Georgia whereas I live in Colorado, and she’s blonde, and…actually, I have one thing in common with Ms. Stockett—rejections. We’ve both had our share. Hard to believe a blockbuster like The Help could be rejected 60 times, but it’s a scenario you hear over and over again. Many wonderful books would have gone unpublished if the authors hadn’t believed in them and fought through the rejections. I couldn’t help but admire Ms. Stockett’s reaction to her first one. She was thrilled and called her friends to tell them about it. I, on the other hand, was devastated, and contemplated flushing my manuscript down the toilet. I didn’t, though, choosing to revise it instead, and ultimately won an award for it. It isn’t published yet, but I haven’t given up. And whether or not it ever gets published, I’m glad I wrote it because the story is close to my heart, which brings up an important point. I write because I can’t imagine not writing. Yes, I’d be thrilled to have my writing published, but I will continue to write regardless, because it’s what I love.
I’m encouraged that my rejections have become more promising. Yes, you read me right. It’s not like a rose is a rose is a rose. There’s a rejection…then there’s a promising rejection. Believe me, I’ve had them all. They began with a simple form letter (sometimes signed, sometimes not) informing me my story was not right for their house. I inquired about the house next door, but they didn’t respond. Then I began getting actual letters or emails complimenting me on my work, and while passing on it, offering me reasons, such as the protagonist needs to be more developed or the tension wanes in the middle chapters. Some have offered to look at future work. Now, I realize these are still rejections, but they were signed by actual people who thought my work showed promise. Will I submit future work to them? You bet!
The more I hear or read about successful authors and the number of rejections they received prior to their success, the more I realize its part of the process. You can choose to curl up in a corner and give up writing forever, or you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep writing, using the criticism and advice offered to make your writing better.
My message, then, is that it’s possible to survive rejection. There are many great authors who can attest to that. So, to all of those writers who have never received a rejection, I say, “Maybe it’s time to start submitting!”