Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Agony of Defeat (and cliches)

Rejections produce agony. Gut-wrenching, soul-piercing, torture. I've been there. Over and over again. But take heart, it's only temporary.

It might mean defeat with one agent, one editor, one reviewer, but the beauty is: there's always the next person. We get up, dust off, pull up the proverbial boot strap, and do it again. We send out another query letter, another manuscript, another galley. Because rejections are simply one person's opinion. And we all know the beauty of opinions. They are gloriously subjective. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Who said that? By George, it even applies to manuscripts.

I have saved all of my rejection letters in a rainy day file, hoping to be one of those writers touted in great success stories! Like Dr. Seuss. He is rumored to be the recipient of something like 75 rejections. Now I don't know about you, but I definitely take heart in that doctor's prescription for success.

I'm with Maureen on this one. I'm my own worst critic. I've rejected my book more times than all of the agents and editors who passed on me combined. If it were up to that red guy with a pitchfork who whispers "you stink, sister" in my poor little ear, I would not be a Novel Girl today. But I have learned to reject that irritating pest and push past him. At least until the next time he tries to shoot another thumbs down my way.

Rejections are part of the process. No way around it. In fact, I've heard it said many times that rejections are a writer's rite of passage...for most of us anyway. And isn't that the positive in the negative?


Lesley Livingston said...

Yes! Begone tiny pitchforky dude! *flicks finger at red-suited nuisance*

Jillian Cantor said...

I love that story about Dr. Seuss!! And I know what you mean about being your own worst critic -- I'm the same way :-)

Maureen Lipinski said...

You kept your rejection letters? I shudder to think of it!