Just typing that title reminds me of my favorite U2 video from the late 90s - the Edge doing his monotone rap type thing while people abuse him. He just sits there and continues singing while children hit him, women fondle him, and his bandmates torture him. Not that this has anything to do with my blog today, but the writer's mind is a vast and complicated roadmap with many tangents to go off on.
Anyway... I have been writing for years. I started my first real, honest to goodness book in 1998. I'd always piddled with writing but this was the first time I sat down with the intention of writing a full, 400 page novel. I believe I finished it in 2000, and it was crap, but that's when I started writing. I started seriously pursuing publication around 2003 after I finished my master's degree and had time to think and breathe again. I found RWA in 2004 and went from there.
Since I started, I've written (including the crap) 9 books. A couple of them have been so thoroughly re-written that they should actually count as another book entirely, but for purposes of simplification, just 9. Out of those nine, I have queried or pitched 6 of them. (Two were sequels that hinged on the first one's acceptance and one was recent and waiting on the outcomes of other projects.) Out of those, I've had full requests for 4 of them, a couple more than once. Of those full requests, partials and queries, I've gotten multiple rejections. So many, PC and I are actually doing a workshop on what you can learn from rejection. How awesome is it to be qualified to teach that, eh?
At the beginning, the mere thought of sending my baby out into the world stopped me cold in my tracks. Once I handed it over to the postman, I felt a sense of dread that would pool in my stomach and stay there for the 3, 6, or 9 months it would take to hear back. Obviously since I haven't sold, they've all come back with rejections so far. The rejections used to knock me for a loop - send me straight to my friends Ben and Jerry - and keep me from writing for weeks.
Lately, not so much. I got a rejection last week and I didn't blink. I hadn't put 100% of my faith behind this submission, but still... I opened the email, read it, nodded as I saw what I expected, and went on with my day. This is not to say that if my most promising submittals came back with a rejection, I wouldn't be completely devastated - I would. But every single roadblock doesn't bother me so much. I think the introduction of e-queries has contributed to this. Now, with little effort, I can send off my query to 15 agents and get rejected at record speed. Seriously - I think I got a rejection back from an agent in less than 3 minutes. Impressive.
It's working both ways, too. Requests don't thrill me as much either. Mailing off my manuscript doesn't make me nauseas. I don't agonize over it like I used to. It is what it is. I'll sell or I won't. I'm hoping this is me growing as a writer and knowing that rejection might be less about me and my skills than it is about having the right project with the right editor at the right time. At the same time, I worry I may just be getting numb to the whole process. Disillusioned, perhaps. I've been at this a long time. Much longer and I'll be one of those people who do workshops on how I motivated myself to keep writing until I was successful after a decade of disappointment.
I guess that U2 video is more applicable than I thought. I think I've finally learned to be like the Edge - I just keep writing even if Bono starts screaming in my ear. Anyone else experience this or am I just the sole jaded one? Have you learned to push through a situation and not let setbacks disappoint you?
Don't forget to check back in next week as we launch our new theme week on the blog. Exciting topics and prizes are on the horizon, so don't miss it!