I Know 'No', but We Aren't Friends
It started with Jordan B. He was blonde and cute. He never kissed me, but we held hands-once. My stomach fluttered every time I saw him. For Valentine's day, he bought me a carnation. True love. As true as any 13 year-old can feel. Then it happened. He dumped me. Rejection is a part of life, we all know this. But, unlike broccoli, I've never developed a taste for it. It tastes just as bitter now as it did in jr. high. If you offered it on a silver platter, I'd have to refuse. Lately, though, I've learned to swallow it with little more than a grimace. It comes from practice. My first book rejection happened over 2 years ago. It was my first novel and I thought it was brilliant. My family supported this idea and I submitted it to a publisher with high hopes. I'd heard all the stories about writers who get rejected over and over. Whatever. That would not happen to me. After 18 months, yes, that's a year and a half, the publishing company finally stopped stringing me along and said-
I was crushed. I practically crawled to my bedroom, locked the door and curled up in the fetal position on my bed. I cried. For hours. This is where my husband found me when he came home. He didn't know what to do. So, he left me alone. It's ok. There's nothing he could do.
I cried. And in the midst of my pain, I began to pray. I prayed that I didn't understand. I'm a writer. What else was I supposed to do? If not this book, then what? After a long time, I realized I had to go on. I could go on. I would go on.
I submitted it again. And again. And again. And then, I rested. I was in the middle of trying to decide where to go when the idea for my current novel snuck it's way into my head. I couldn't deny it. It demanded to be written. It hung out in my conciousness for months. So, I wrote.
Once it was finished, I began sending out letters. One day and I got the first rejection. Guess what? I didn't care. I knew it would be rejected. More than once. All those stories about authors being rejected (JK Rowling- 12. Stephenie Meyer-9) actually helped.
I've had a lot of 'form' rejections. They varied from one line "This isn't a fit for me." To a paragraph. It's all right. These agents get hundreds of letters a week. I don't blame them. But, something personal is nice. My favorite (yes, I have a favorite rejection) came for my first novel. She told me specific reasons why they were saying no, and also reasons they liked it. Then, she said she saw promise in me as a writer and hoped to see more from me in the future. I wrote them last week. (So hard to type with finers crossed!)
One letter reminded me that although my project wasn't a fit for her, I should keep going because I only need one. Just one.