Friday, May 02, 2008

PRO-ud to be Rejected

I'll start by apologizing for this blog post being boring. There will be no half naked firemen today. :)

I've been thinking a lot about my RWA PRO status the last few weeks. When I first joined RWA and Heart of Dixie, I didn't know much about it. When someone told me I was eligible, I filled out the paperwork and sent it in so I could get a pin. I still didn't know much about it. As time has gone on, I figured it out. I've never really participated much in the loops or the workshops. I've attended the PRO retreats twice, but have yet to sit through the whole thing. The best thing for me, I guess, is that I can get priority registration for pitch appointments. Editors and agents never really seem to care about PRO, which is a shame, but true.

But it wasn't until now that I really understood how much the pin means. In essense, it means you've been rejected. (Unless you managed to get the pin with a mail confirmation for a project you sold on the first time out, in which case, I don't want to know.) It means you did what so many others haven't done - not only started a book, but finished it and sent it out into the world. You took the shot and yeah, you didn't sell, but you tried. I took it for granted I suppose because I never thought it was that big of a deal.

The Circle of 5 has changed my mind on this topic. Over the last three months or so, I've sent out a slew of queries, partials, contest entries, short stories, etc. It was quite the boost to my ego at first. Then the rejections started raining down on my head like fire and brimstone. I didn't really think about that part when I started. I just thought it would improve my odds of getting interest about my writing. I guess it has done that to a point. But I wasn't mentally ready for the barrage of rejections. You have to be tough in this business and I'm not sure my skin is quite thick enough yet.

But, I'll keep going. Despite the rejections. Despite how much it can hurt. I wallow, dust myself off and get back on the horse. That says a lot, I suppose. There are plenty of people out there who are so afraid of being rejected, they never send anything out at all.

So I'm going to polish up my PRO pin and wear it with pride. I'd gladly trade it for PAN status at a moment's notice, but for now, I'm proud of what I've accomplished. At least until the next rejection comes.

What are you proud of today?

SP


Aw...what the hell...

Circle of Five Status:
1 agent partial pending
1 Nocturne e-bites novella pending
2 short stories and 5 short features pending

17 comments:

Problem Child said...

Didn't we get our PRO pins at the same time? Little ceremony with a couple of silk roses?

Maven Linda said...

What am I proud of? I'm proud of you, SP.

I didn't even TRY for years and years; I did my learning and growing in private. You're out there trying where I didn't have the nerve to go.

Angel said...

I think the same. Being a writer brings many ups and downs, published or not. My circle of 5 is currently nil as I try to put together proposals to send out. And getting all those rejections at once is tough, let me tell ya.

And while it is certainly disheartening, I don't want to give up. There's always a new project to get excited about, a new challenge for pages. And I jump in with two feet. Guess that tells me something, huh? :)

My PRO pin means a lot to me for that very reason. It means I was willing to put myself out there. Not a lot of people will. I don't wave it around and expect it to mean something to other people. It means something to me, and that's all that matters.

Angel

Angel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smarty Pants said...

Yep, PC, that's why I got one. When you turned in your paperwork someone urged me to do mine so they could send it in together. I didn't know much about it at the time, but the fact that they were willing to celebrate my rejection blew my mind.

Thanks, Linda. :) I needed that.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I got a rejection the week of Christmas once. That's when I figured I wasn't as ready for the writing business as I thought.

Those rejections, especially coming back in what seems to be never-ending droves, hurt. They chink at the armor, sometimes piercing. And they usually make you want to hide.

You learn and grow and keep going. The only other alternative is to quit. I'm proud of you too, for being determined to dust yourself off and keep going.

I'm also proud that I've written 22 pages this week so far. Here's hoping for another 10 or so today. My hands hurt, my eyes are gritty, and I really feel like I could use a vacation -- but I can't take a break. MUST finish two books ASAP.

Instigator said...

I'm proud of us all. Each of us keep going despite rejections, disappointments, family obligations... The list of things that could prompt us to quit is endless. But we don't. And that's what's important!

Instigator

Playground Monitor said...

I am proud that I finally bit the bullet and joined Curves. I figured I'd just do without something each month (like impulse spending at Walmart) to pay for it. I did ask the DH to pay my registration fee as an anniversary present (35 years on Monday). He surprised me by agreeing to pay everything -- the registration fee plus the monthly fee. BUT if I don't work out like I'm supposed to, I have to pay him back. That'$ my motivation.

On the writing front, I'm not a PRO. I can't finish a book. I have 2 beginnings, no endings and have jumped to a new idea. Some days I tell myself it doesn't matter. Other days I want a PRO pin too. And still other days I ask myself why I don't just quit altogether.

::sigh:: I suppose if it was easy, everyone would write a novel, huh?

PM

Anonymous said...

I admire you ladies for doing what you do. I so enjoy reading a romance novel, to just take me away from everyday stuff. I could never do what you do, so thank you very much. What am I proud of? That I work really hard here at the school being a department secretary and assistant to the director of external affairs.
robertsonreads

Sherry W. said...

PRO-ud to be rejected- yes, be VERY proud. I would love to get a rejection letter because that would mean I had actually finished something and sent it in. Apparently I have a flaming case of writer's fear. I think about my characters all the time, but can find so many reasons to avoid writing. Lately my avoidance has been due to a baking binge. Just this week I have baked: Devils cake cookies, pineapple upside down cake and banana-chocolate chip muffins and I have my eye on a recipe for Earthquake cake. Maybe I need to be locked in a room with my computer (minus internet service) to get me jump started - or take out the oven. : )

Instigator said...

Sherry, my avoidance tactic involves scrubbing bubbles and my bathroom. The playfriends know I'm in serious trouble if I'm cleaning. Make baking your reward. You can bake that cake only after you've reached your writing goal for the day/week/month.

It's so easy to let the fear rule you. It's hard to put yourself and your work out there and tempt rejection. But you can't sell something that isn't submitted! :-)

Instigator

Maven LJ said...

I'm proud of and amazed by those of you who manage to write while your kids are young or you have a full time job -- or both. That take such determination, you should all be proud of yourselves.

LJ

Sherry W. said...

Thanks Instigator! I'm working on it. I just finished reading a book by Kelly Stone -'Time to Write' that has a lot of good info about goal setting and time management. And you're so right - if I don't put myself out there I'll never know. : )

Jen said...

I'm totally proud of you, SP. You know, the thing about rejections is most of us instantly think, "I'm not good enough/my work's not good enough" when that's often not the case at all. It just means for that moment that it crossed that editor/agent desk, It didn't fulfill their need.

from children's author said...

I stumbled on your blog a year ago because I am a children's writer and thought The Writng Playground would be children's writers. I love to read this totally different blog from my usual. As for rejections, my first picture book had 25 rejections before getting published. I taped them together end to end and flip them out at author visits. WRITING IS HARD WORK. And I received a rejection on Christmas Eve this past year!

I have 18 picture books I'm constantly submitting to the publishers that still allow unsolicited submissions. It gets tricky just keeping track of all of them.

Write on and write well.

Doris Fisher
www.abcdoris.com

Instigator said...

Welcome to the Playground, Doris! We're glad you came out of lurk :-) I just clicked over onto your website and my girls would love your books! Sweet Pea is going into 2nd grade next year and just starting to learn about parts of speech. I'm going to have to get the set for her!

Instigator

Kathy said...

I sympathize, SP. Fear kept a strangle hold on me for years. PRO helped me become better at overcoming it.

As for how to deal with rejections or bad contest evaluations... I got bad contest results the day I found out my dad died. Suddenly, I realized there were worse things that could happen if someone didn't like my writing. What an epiphany! Sad as it was, it was a good lesson that I hope to never forget. Value the journey. Take stock in the work, love it, desire it, seek it... until that pig is stuck in the tree outside your door.