Yes, I’ve received my first rejections on my project ‘Get An Agent’ and no, I’m not too disheartened. It was a little stunning getting those first few self addressed stamped envelopes, I had so carefully printed, stamped and placed inside the packages and letters I’d sent. Surreal. I knew without opening them that the answer in all of them was, no. Some of them were so light that I wondered if there was anything in the envelope at all. There was. The smallest slip of paper, politely declining my request. The common response was that they had full client lists and/or the material was not right for them.
I had to wonder though, when they said the material was not right for them, what did that mean, exactly? Was it just a polite way of saying, “Get away from me kid, you’re bothering me” or something else? How could material not be right for an agent? Do they specialize too? Is the world now just full of people who specialize and work in niche markets? It could be, but I couldn’t tell you. All I know is that these folks were either too busy or my material was not ‘right’ for them.
The interesting thing to me was that it didn’t break my heart or make me utter an unintelligible curse in their direction. I expected them. I think you have to expect rejection before you can expect acceptance. Life is like that, isn’t it? You don’t just hop on a bike and zoom down the street, popping wheelies like a pro. Nope. You get on the bike and fall down. And sometimes it’s funny and people laugh at you. But if you want to ride that bike badly enough, you get back on, willing to fall as many times as necessary for you to master it. To get to the goal of zooming down the street and popping wheelies like a pro. Yes, you get right back on the bike and you keep trying until you get there.
But I don’t like the word, trying. Trying implies that your heart isn’t in it. You’re trying to cope. Trying to learn. Trying to make do. Trying to accept rejection. No, I think maybe learning is a better word or just doing. So, this week, I’m doing rejection. I may do it next week again and perhaps even the week after that. Eventually, I’ll get it right.
It feels a little odd to be writing these words and thinking these thoughts because they seem unlike me. I was always a sensitive child and often took things to heart, personally, and would get so discouraged. I was frankly, afraid to even try this because I was afraid I would have that very reaction. Afraid that the Drama Queen would come out and have tantrums and then feel sorry for herself. But the DQ, seems to be happily asleep while I contemplate this new attitude. While I step into this new suit and strut across the room in it. Maybe a few more rejections will coax the Queen out and she’ll have her way with me, but I don’t think so. I think maybe I don’t need her that much anymore. I think that I know what I want and that I’m okay with going after it. Whether it takes days, weeks or years doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
Somewhere along the line, I stopped getting torn up about what people thought of my work. Either they like it or they don’t. Will read it or won’t. It’s always wonderful to get the praise and please a reader but I think that sometimes you learn more from the reader who rejects your work. Whether it’s writing or anything else. If you’re smart and you listen, you will learn things about your work from the naysayers. Maybe how to improve it but more maybe about yourself and what your work really is and isn’t. Who it is for and who it isn’t for. That’s pretty valuable stuff.
I can accept rejection now, I suppose the real question is, can I accept acceptance? Now, there’s an interesting thought.
12 thoughts on “Rejection”
Nice, contemplative post.
I could relate to it as a writer and an editor. I haven’t had much trouble with rejection since I have not sent too many unsolicited manuscripts/stories to editors or agents. But whenever I have faced rejection, it’s always taught me something. So you’re right about “learning” from it.
Nice of you to visit. Thanks. I do think we learn a lot more from rejection than acceptance, sort of odd on the face of it but I think it is human nature to want to understand that which disagrees with us.
Love this and so identify with it WC. The DQ in me has also slowly been turning into a determined, steadfast kinda gal! Are there not agents who specialise? There are here. Are you sending the manuscript to publishers who’ll take unsolicited manuscripts? That’s what I’m doing.
Anyway, love your approach to this. You’ll get it, I have no doubt of that.
Did you do the painting btw? It’s awesome 🙂
I’m not submitting the book to publishers, just querying agents – some with pages, some without, depending on their submission specs. And yes, the agents I have queried appear to all handle my genre – beyond that, I don’t know about their specialties. The long and short of it is, that I’m okay with the process and part of the process is for people to say, no. 😉
Oh my, me paint? How I wish that were true. No, I’m afraid I just found it online – but I love it too. Like a free spirit in paint, don’t you think?
In Stephen Kings’ “On Writing”, he writes about all the rejections he received when first submitting to magazines and publishers. He kept them all on a spike on the wall above his desk to spur him on.
i like that. Your attitude is positive and that is your acceptance.
i agree with your views of acceptance and “trying”. i just wrote a friend about my self-doubt when it comes to, well everything, but especially my writing. Rejection is what i expect and when i don’t get it, i feel people are being dishonest. Not maliciously! To spare me. But i don’t want to be spared, i want to be pruned and to grow. There is a fear in that, but i will overcome it.
Your agent is out there somewhere, waiting for your envelope. Good attitude, Chica, and i wish you all the best!
I’ve read of many different things writers have done with rejection letters. I read that one had actually wallpapered his office with them. Talk about nerves of steel. 😆
I like your image of my agent being out there, waiting for my letter. Hope you’re right.
As to you – it may be you aren’t getting enough rejection because you’re such a frickin’ awesome writer. You may just have to learn to live with that.
Never give up. I stumbled upon your blog accidently. Great blog ^o^.
Nice to meet you. Glad you stumbled in and liked what you saw. 😉
You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, WC. Good for you and your efforts.
Hey there Mick!
I like that analogy – I think I’ve heard it before but it sounds new to me. Thanks for the encouragement.
Whether it’s writing, family, friendships, or something else — we all go through things and come out stronger and enlightened. But, sometimes I’m really sick of learning the HARD way!!! Chin up, you are marvelous! You rock, and you know it girl!
I feel your pain. Yeah, it would be delightful if we didn’t have to always learn the hard way, wouldn’t it?
Urmm…Accepting acceptance. Keep going…Like you said if it takes weeks, months, years…Your material is good enough for me…I’d be tempted to send the ‘little slips’ of paper back to ‘them’…I don’t do rejection good either but I find if it’s something I truly believe in, something I feel deep well rejection really doesn’t come into it as I’m not giving up come what may. it’s when I begin to reject myself I start to worry.
We can do rejection standing on our head’s YAY!! Bring it on….Keep going WC
Peace and chance
Rejecting oneself, yeah, that is the scary one, isn’t it?
Sorry to hear about things.
I know it will happen for you.
I’ve read it.
I know. Chin up, chick.
No worries, I’m really not upset. I still have several left to hear from and the longer it takes to hear back, possibly the better my chances??? Sure, it will happen, cuz I’m going to keep at it, until it does.
this is very inspirational … i am gearing myself up for rejection i think, i haven’t had the courage for it yet but that is changing. i am so sorry to hear but i know it will happen for you because you are doing it and you will be ready for acceptance when it happens 🙂
As it will happen for you. Really, I think the hardest part is getting up the nerve to just put yourself out there. But there is real accomplishment in doing so. And it builds the confidence – so yes, do put yourself out there. You’re damn good and people should know about you.
Well there are enough how to be a writer books, how to get yourself published books out there to clue you in on the expected rejection. The good news is that you knew what to expect.
I’ve come to realize merely in the last few weeks that it is often the fear of success that stumps us.
I think that for the simple fact that you were ready for this process only proves that much more that you are a writer, one with HEART.
Good job girl. You’ve made it through the first step and I not only am proud of you, but I believe in you too. kim
You’ve no idea how much this comment means to me.
I’ve always had a burning desire to paint too, Sigh! Yes, love this, and it does look like a free spirit. Good for you re the process. Reading your responses to these comments, you know exactly what you’re doing, what to expect, and you’re just getting on with it! yay for you 🙂
Thanks for the yays – I really appreciate them. I’m not sure I know exactly what I’m doing because that would infer I’m responsible and mature and really I’m bratty and childish – 😆 but yeah, I am just getting on with it. Slow and steady wins the race as they say.
I know you put this sucker in the right place.
You’re better than this.
You know it, I know it.
You summed it up perfectly, “Can I accept acceptance?”
IMHO, you damn well better.
Lord knows you’ve worked hard enough.
And then some.
Thanks buddy. I have worked hard – it’s true. But I’m prepared to work harder if I have to. I’ve been up til midnight every night for the last two weeks, editing stories and looking for markets. I damn well mean it,this time. I think…
BTW, sorry folks if I haven’t been visiting or writing really great posts lately – I’ll make up for it soon, just want to hit this stuff quick and hard – the urgency has me captive. 🙂