Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Fricassee

Today, the weather has me smiling. A good thing, since the weekend is supposed to be miserable.

While I'm still smiling, I want to talk about Never Giving Up. I've walked through a valley of discouragement recently and have emerged with my weapon still drawn, so this is a near-and-dear, still tender-when-touched place for me.

Rejection is always unpleasant. Somehow, though, it becomes more poignant as you draw CLOSER to your goal. When I was querying my first novel (shudder), rejection felt different than it does now. Sure, it stung. And yes, I hated it. But I wasn't ripe, wasn't ready. I'm a different writer now, and the rejections I receive are different, too.

In short, they contain compliments. And invitations to submit revised versions and future work. And blah blah blah.

Good stuff, yes? But when things continue to Not Happen, despair feels bigger, more insurmountable. As in, if I write well, WHY AM I STILL SITTING HERE? If I write well, WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH MY NOVEL?

Not that I don't appreciate the positive feedback. Agents don't throw around words like "talented" lightly. I know this. I appreciate the affirmation.


It makes rejection harder. It really does.

So agent Jill Corcoran's BLOG POST was timely. Excellent quotes. Important message for writers who feel on the verge of giving up.

My favorite link? THIS ONE from the Verla Kay archives. Jay, the forlorn author of the post, is now a NYT bestselling author.

Yes, indeed. And if you pay attention to the dates, his success came LATER THE SAME YEAR. That is, less than a twelvemonth after his I'm-so-ready-to-quit soliloquy, his first book sold.

All that to say, I'm not giving up. All that to say, you mustn't give up, either.

Put that in your bubble pipe and blow it. And keep your proverbial chin up. It may come off as cloying sometimes, but it's the best advice anyone can give you.

There. I feel better!


  1. Hang in there, Authoress. You're getting rejections with feedback; that means you're so close!

    Last time I was ready to quit (this sounds like a quit-smoking commercial) I came to the great realization that I can't quit. Writing is an integral part of my life, and even if I stopped putting stories down on paper, they would still be swimming around in my head, causing me misery. So, since I'm so addicted that I can never quit, I may as well keep learning and growing and hopefully someday I'll get it right.

    And just think of how encouraging it will be to all us writers when you do get accepted. You'll be able to show the world that you went from the painful slashing of Miss Snark to best selling author. We all can learn from your dedication and resilience.

  2. I could use some inspiration. Thank you!

  3. Great post! Thanks for the links and for the encouragement. It can be so easy to give up, even when you get positive feedback, and still find yourself waiting and waiting. Hard to keep writing but we have to! Best of luck to you.

  4. Wow, talk about timeliness. Thanks for posting this.

    It's so true - the closer I get, the harder it feels. As with everything in the publishing world right now, I can't let it bug me; I can only keep writing. Must. Not. Give. Up.

  5. John Meils had a great post over at this week, too. Must be in the air!

    Thanks for all you do Authoress!

  6. Good bit of encouragement. Thank you.

  7. Natalie Whipple, one of Nathan Bransford's (as yet unpublished) clients, blogged about virtually the same thing yesterday. Check it out:

    Hang in there, Authoress. You are one of the unagented writers that I always put in the just-hasn't-happened-quite-yet camp.

  8. When they correlate success to psychological attributes, it isn't talent or IQ that best indicates whether a person will be successful.

    It's optimism. Because optimists never give up. They feel sad when they have set-backs, but they also believe things will get better, so they keep trying.

    And the nice thing about optimism is you can fake its outcome with pure, bloody-minded stubbornness.

  9. Oh my, do I know what you are talking about. I love the personal rejections on one level, don't get me wrong. Even the tiniest bit of feedback from an agent is like gold. But to know that I'm closer with this book than others and STILL NOT THERE? It's frustrating as all get out.

  10. Rejection letters suck, plain and simple. Those two seconds of hope before the kick to your stomach. Yup sucks. But that is part of being an author. Right?

    We've all been there. We've all had our hopes dashed but if your dream is to become a published author you just have to keep going. It’s your dream right? Keep fighting.

    I forget what the book is called, but way back when I started writing, I heard about a book that had copies of rejection letters from some of the literary masters! Imaging rejecting Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Shakespeare for criminey sakes!

    That kind of puts things in perspective!

  11. Ugh. This was MUCH NEEDED today...thank you.

  12. THANK YOU!!!!
    I really needed this. You are awesome incarnate.

  13. I've always liked the form rejection. (Or the form rejection with a personal scribble. "Loved the humor, but just not for us.")

    Those encouraging rejections do rebound on you after a while. Especially if they go on for years.

    But even then, it's very often a matter of finding the right match, or the markets changing just enough to make your work more commercially interesting as well as creatively.

  14. *tugs on boot straps and bravely picks up her pen*
    Thanks for this! I needed to know there was someone else out there who felt the same!
    *Plunks back down and starts to write again*

  15. You could also try sending your manuscript to editors, since they are the ones who can actually pay you for your work :)

    Nice rejections are a good start, keep your chin up and keep submitting and writing and submitting more :)

  16. Awesome timing! Keep on going authoress, you are going to do it!

    Thanks for the great post!

  17. You say:

    "But when things continue to Not Happen, despair feels bigger, more insurmountable. As in, if I write well, WHY AM I STILL SITTING HERE? If I write well, WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH MY NOVEL?"

    Maybe nothing at all. Ever been at the end of a very long line in a crowded supermarket thathas sent half their cashiers home to cut costs? Why are you still standing in line? WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY GROCERIES?

    Nothing, it's just how it is in that supermarket. If times ever get better, maybe they'll have more lanes open.

    Just a thought,

  18. I've been having one of those weeks. Thanks for the note. It was a sign for me to keep going.

  19. Don't stop writing just because of one or more rejection's. I think this post lifted everyone's spirits. Keep on Writing!