Take It On The Chin.
Never give up. Never surrender.
These are the phrases pinned to our refrigerators and vanity mirrors, the words we share on Facebook…and the heartfelt mantra chanted over and over again as we rock back and forth in our office chairs like the crazy old cat lady of lore. We. Are. Writers.
And good dear GOD do we know all about rejection!
This isn’t my first rodeo kiddies! Years writing ‘The Masterpiece’ (we’ve all written one!), months perfecting the synopsis and dreaded query…in the hopes that we might get that *PING!* in our inboxes after weeks of waiting for…*Air Quotes* …’The Response’ (cue creepy Halloween-esq dun dun duuun).
It’s terrifying. Days and weeks go by, until – at last – you stop jumping at every ping, and you quit checking your e-mail every five minutes. The pathetic truth sets in – ‘The Masterpiece’ is not actually a masterpiece (*sadface*).
This was me three years ago. On the verge of giving birth to the love of my life (my actual son…not my book!), I queried the literary world like a woman on a mission. It was my first time out of the gate, and…you know…this was ‘it’!
A partial request here…a full request there…things were looking up!! But in the end…nothing. I couldn’t understand it. I couldn’t believe it. What had I done wrong?
It wasn’t until I received some pretty damning feedback from a reputable mid-size publisher (I had truly given up on finding an agent by then) that reality hit home. I had it all wrong, and my attitude was backwards.
After that golden e-mail (I didn’t think it was so ‘golden’ at the time), and the birth of my baby boy, I realized that I needed to take a step back. Relax (with a screaming newborn), and find myself a little. Find a new subject…and I did. Two separate novels that I just couldn’t finish…because ‘The Masterpiece’ haunted my every waking thought.
Fast forward to January of this year. I work 50 hours a week and somehow balance parenting with writing novels…and I re-opened that single rejection from 3 years ago and took a very deep breath.
Perhaps it’s my day job (high powered, fast-paced, and doling out a little constructive criticism of my own), but I was able to recognize the fact that I was the issue. Not the agents. Not the publishers. I wasn’t listening. I needed to humble myself if I wanted the damn prize **Literary Immortality**
Sure, I was reading these letters…but it wasn’t sinking in. So I did the unthinkable. I said to myself (as I’m a very important person in the real world *cough*)…what would I advise, if someone handed this to me?
The answer? Scrap the entire frigging book and start at the end. So I did. 6 months. That’s all it took…stealing an hour here, and a half hour there…to completely destruct ‘The Masterpiece’, and build it back up brick by brick.
The result? Three years ago, my voice was by no means ready. And now? ‘The Masterpiece’ has been re-named ‘The-Let’s-Hope-Someone-Loves-It-Because-I’m-Really-Moving-On-This-Time-If-I-Can’t-Get-An-Agent’. Too long? I thought so too. ‘Card Houses’ seemed to fit a little better, and so far, so good.
Six partial requests, two full request…and plenty of rejection (it’s a good balance really). But I’m not getting excited. My mother always says that ‘expectations are the graveyards of broken dreams’…and she’s right.
I’ll keep everyone posted on my progress…but always remember:
Never give up…and never surrender.
You can find me on Twitter – @BuckinghamsBabe