I think I should warn you upfront; this isn’t going to be one of my rah-rah, life-as-a-writer-is-so-cool posts. This is the yucky underbelly. The kind where I’m moaning and pouting and asking myself if I’ve lost my friggin’ mind for trying to get published. But it’s the reality of a writer in my stage of the game, so I’m posting it.
Today I got my third rejection from my first round of submissions. The first two hit me with the equivalent of a flu shot—it didn’t really hurt all that bad, but I knew the action of hearing “no, thank you” would make me stronger. This one…well, it felt a bit more like that time a nursing student practiced starting an IV on me without the numbing stuff. (For clarification, I likened that experience to someone shoving a 12” diameter pipeline into my super tiny vein.)
This rejection came from an agent, one that a fellow writer friend works with and who struck me as the level headed, supportive type when I met her at the annual RWA Conference. She didn’t say anything awful in her response. Quite the opposite really, giving me an extremely kind, “it’s not for me, but I wish you the best.”
So, why am I smarting? I’ve been shoveling left over Halloween chocolate in my mouth for the past hour asking myself that very question. (I’m eyeing the clock too, waiting for a respectable hour to open a bottle of wine.) My muse is draped over a red velvet chaise in the corner with a dramatic arm thrown over her forehead. My hot life coach keeps trying to perk me up, flaunting his romance-cover-worthy-torso and touting how all of the “no’s” are necessary. (Honey, it’s my imaginary, hot life coach…no one real.)
After a little time licking my newest wound, I think I’ve decided it’s because I want validation. I want someone—especially someone who I’ve deemed to be competent and respectable—to look at my baby and say, “Hey! This is great!” But looking to outside sources to bolster my courage isn’t going to get me far. Not in this business. If anything it’ll leave me battered, bruised and bankrupt from single-handedly keeping the Hershey company in business.
So, I’m going to take my ailing body up to bed (I’ve got a cold) and snuggle up with a good book (mine) so I can fall in love with my characters all over again and remember why I do this.
I’m still taking the chocolate and the wine with me….