"The world often knocks us down, and we wear the scars to signify the blows. We have to choose whether to retreat or retry." - Gail McMeekin
I can not tell you how much I enjoyed the chapter for this week's blogging book group! As I work to get my novel published and begin to get back a few rejection letters, I am feeling twinges of discouragement. As anyone who has read my blog for awhile will know, one of my favorite books in the whole world is Women Who Run with the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. At the beginning of this chapter, Gail McMeekin shares that this remarkable book was rejected forty-seven times over twenty years. FORTY-SEVEN!!!
I do not think I could handle that.
Having said that, the thing about the process of writing my novel is that after the year of writing, the editing, the rewriting, the attempts at a synopsis, the sending it out to be read by people and the query letter writing I seem to have developed a healthy emotional distance from the book. I still love it. I still believe in it completely and want to passionately promote it, but it no longer draws blood when I get a rejection letter. I know that it needs someone to love it as much as I do. I am choosing to see rejection letters as notes from people with no imagination or bravery. I certainly do not want someone like that championing my book!
I think that the trick to handling rejection is to have created a list before putting ourselves out there. I have a list of agents and publishers that I am methodically sending work out to. I have a long plan of attack. If a rejection comes in, I file the letter and send the package out to someone else. Just like the only secret to writing a novel is to sit in the chair and write the novel, I have to believe that the secret to getting published is to keep asking people to publish you. (Or hire you or let you hang your art or sell your photographs...)
"Getting ahead in a difficult profession - singing, acting, writing, whatever - requires faith in yourself. You must be able to sustain yourself against staggering blows and unfair reversals. When I think back to those first couple of years in Rome, those endless rejections, without a glimmer of encouragement from anyone, all those failed screen tests, and yet I never let my desire slide away from me, my belief in myself and what I could achieve." - Sophia Loren